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UNIVERSITY  OF  CALIFORNIA 
DEPARTMENT  OF  UNIVERSITY  EXTENSION      j 


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DEPARTMENT  OF  UNIVERSITY  EXTENSION 

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MEMOIRS 


OF 


MADAME  DE  RfiMUSAT, 


1802-1808. 


WITH  A  PREFACE  AND  NOTES  BY  HER  GRANDSON. 

PAUL  DE  RfiMUSAT, 


TRANSLATED  FROM  THE  FRENCH  BY 

MRS.  CASHEL  HOEY  AND  JOHN  LILLIE. 


IN    THREE     VOLUMES. 
VOL.1. 


NEW    YORK : 
D.   APPLETON    AND    COMPANY, 

1,    3,   AND   5    BOND    STREET. 
1880. 


H!ST68f  I 


COPTEICHT  BY 

D.   APPLETON  AND  COMPANY, 

1879. 


CONTENTS. 


INTRODUCTION. 

PAGE 
POBTRAITS  AND  ANECDOTES 1 

CHAPTER    I. 
(1802-1803.) 

Family  Affairs— My  First  Evening  at  Saint  Cloud— General  Moreau— M.  de  Ee- 
rnusat  is  made  Prefect,  and  I,  Lady  of  the  Palace— Habits  of  the  First 
Consul  and  of  Mme.  Bonaparte— M.  de  Talleyrand— The  Family  of  the 
First  Consul— Miles.  Georges  and  Duchesnois— Mme.  Bonaparte's  Jeal- 
ousy ....••••••  8<f 

CHAPTER  II. 

(1803.) 

A  Eeturn  to  the  Customs  of  the  Monarchy— M.  de  Fontanes— Mme.  d'Houde- 
tot — Burners  of  "War — Meeting  of  the  Corps  Legislatif— Departure  of  the 
English  Ambassador— M.  Maret— Marshal  Berthier— Journey  of  the  First 
Consul  to  Belgium — A  Carriage  Accident — The  Amiens  Fetes  .  .  65 

CHAPTER  III. 
(1803.) 

Continuation  of  the  Journey  to  Belgium— Opinions  of  the  First  Consul  on 
Gratitude,  on  Glory,  and  on  the  French — Ghent,  Malines,  and  Brussels — 
The  Clergy— M.  de  Eoquelaure— Eeturn  to  Saint  Cloud— Preparations  for 
an  Invasion  of  England— Marriage  of  Mme.  Leclerc— Journey  of  the 
First  Consul  to  Boulogne— Illness  of  M.  de  Eemusat— I  rejoin  him— Con- 
versations with  the  First  Consul  .  .  .  .  .  .80 

CHAPTER  IV. 

(1803-1804.) 

Continuation  of  the  First  Consul's  Conversations  at  Boulogne— Ecading  of 
the  Tragedy  of  "Philippe  Auguste"— My  New  Impressions— Eeturn  to 
Paris— Mme.  Bonaparte's  Jealousy— Winter  Fetes  of  1804— M.  de  Fon- 
tanes—M.  Fouche*— Savary— Pichegru— Arrest  of  General  Moreau  .  101 


373177 


ii  CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER  V. 

PAGE 

The  Arrest  of  Georges  Cadoudal — The  Mission  of  M.  de  Caulaincourt  to 
Ettenheim— The  Arrest  of  the  Due  d'Enghien— My  Distress  and  my 
Urgency  with  Mme.  Bonaparte — An  Evening  at  Malmaison — The  Death 
of  the  Due  d'Enghien— Kemarkable  "Words  of  the  First  Consul  .  .  120 

CHAPTER  VI. 

(1804.) 
5 

The  Impression  produced  in  Paris  by  the  Death  of  the  Due  d'Enghien — The 
First  Consul's  Efforts  to  dispel  it— Performance  at  the  Opera  House- 
Death  of  Pichegru — Breach  between  Bonaparte  and  his  Brother  Lucien 
— Project  of  adopting  the  Young  Napoleon — Foundation  of  the  Empire  .  140 

CHAPTER  VII. 

Effects  and  Causes  of  the  Accession  of  Bonaparte  to  the  Imperial  Throne — 
The  Emperor  converses — The  Grievances  of  Mme.  Murat — The  Character 
of  M.  de  Ke"mu8at— The  New  Court  .  ,  158 


CONTENTS. 


CHAPTER    VIII. 

(1804.)  PAGB 

The  Trial  of  General  Moreau— Condemnation  of  MM.  de  Polignac,  De  Ei- 
viere,  etc.— Pardon  of  M.  de  Polignae— A  Letter  from  Louis  XVHI  .  179 

CHAPTER  IX. 

(1804.) 

Plans  for  the  Invasion— An  Article  in  the  "  Moniteur  "—The  Great  Offi- 
cers of  State— The  Ladies-in- Waiting— The  Anniversary  of  July  14th— 
Beauty  of  the  Empress — Projects  of  Divorce — Preparations  for  the  Coro- 
nation ..........  192 

CHAPTER  X. 

The  Pope's  Arrival  in  Paris— The  Plebiscitum— The  Marriage  of  the  Em- 
press Josephine — The  Coronation  Fetes  in  the  Champ  de  Mars,  at  the 
Ope"ra,  etc.— The  Court  of  the  Empress 214 

CHAPTER  XI. 

(1807.) 

The  Emperor  in  Love — Mme.  de  X . — Mme.  de  Damas — The  Empress  con- 
fides in  me— Palace  Intrigues— Murat  is  raised  to  the  Bank  of  Prince  .  229 


BOOK    II. 

CHAPTER  XII. 

(1805.) 

Opening  of  the  Session  of  the  Senate— M.  do  Talleyrand's  Eeport— Letter  from 
the  Emperor  to  the  King  of  England — Union  of  the  Crown  of  Italy  to  the 
Empire — Mme.  Bacciochi  becomes  Princess  of  Piombino — Performance 
of  "  Athalie  "— The  Emperor  goes  to  Italy— His  Dissatisfaction— M.  de 
Talleyrand— Prospect  of  War  with  Austria  ..... 

CHAPTER   XIII. 

(1805.) 

Fe"tes  at  Verona  and  Genoa— Cardinal  Maury— My  Retired  Life  in  the  Country 
— Mme.  Louis  Bonaparte — "  Les  Templiers  " — The  Emperor's  Eeturn 
—His  Amusements— The  Marriage  of  M.  de  Talleyrand— War  is  declared 


iv  CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER  XIV. 

(1805.)  PAGE 

M.  de  Talleyrand  and  M.  Fouche"— The  Emperor's  Speech  to  the  Senate— 
The  Departure  of  the  Emperor— The  Bulletins  of  the  Grand  Army— Pov- 
erty in  Paris  during  the  War — The  Emperor  and  the  Marshals — The  Fau- 
bourg St.  Germain— Trafalgar— Journey  of  M.  de  K6musat  to  Vienna  .  284 

CHAPTER  XV. 

.(1805.) 

The  Battle  of  Austerlitz— The  Emperor  Alexander— Negotiations— Prince 
Charles — M.  d'  Andre* — M.  de  Ee*musat  in  Disgrace — Duroc — Savary — The 
Treaty  of  Peace  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .303 

CHAPTER  XVI. 
(1805-1806.) 

State  of  Paris  during  the  War — Cambace'res — Le  Brun — Mme.  Louis  Bona- 
parte—Marriage of  Eugene  de  Beauharnais— Bulletins  and  Proclama- 
tions— Admiration  of  the  Emperor  for  the  Queen  of  Bavaria — Jealousy  of 

the  Empress— M.  de  Nansouty — Mme.  de . — Conquest  of  Naples — 

Position  and  Character  of  the  Emperor         .  .  .  .  .321 

CHAPTER  XVII. 
(1806.) 

The  Death  of  Pitt— Parliamentary  Debates  in  England— Public  Works— In- 
dustrial Exhibition — New  Etiquette — Performances  at  the  Opera  House 
and  at  the  Come'die  Franijaise — Monotony  of  the  Court — Opinions  of  the 
Empress — Mine.  Louis  Bonaparte — Mme.  Murat — The  Bourbons — New 
Ladies-in- Waiting— M.  Mole— Mme.  d'Houdetot— Mme.  de  Barante  .  341 

CHAPTER  XVIII. 
(1806.) 

The  Emperor's  Civil  List— His  Household  and  its  Expenses— Dress  of  the 
Empress  and  of  Mme.  Murat — Louis  Bonaparte — Prince  Borghese — Fetes 
at  Court— The  Empress's  Family— Marriage  of  Princess  Stephanie— 
Jealousy  of  the  Empress — Theatricals  at  Malmaison  .  .  .  365 

CHAPTER  XIX. 

The  Emperor's  Court— His  Ecclesiastical  Household— His  Military  House- 
hold—The Marshals— The  Ladies— Delille— Chateaubriand— Mme.  de 
Genlis — Romances — Literature — Arts  .  .  .  .  .  387 


CONTENTS. 


CHAPTER    XX. 

(1806.)  PAGB 

Senatus-Consultum  of  the  30th  of  March— Foundation  of  Monarchies  and 

Duchies — Queen  Hortense       .  .  .  .  .  .  .419 

CHAPTER  XXI. 

(1806.) 

I  go  to  Cauterets — The  King  of  Holland — Factitious  Tranquillity  of  France 
— M.  de  Metternich — The  New  Catechism — The  Germanic  Confedera- 
tion— Poland — Death  of  Mr.  Fox — "War  is  declared — Departure  of  the 
Emperor — M.  Pasquier  and  M.  Mold — Session  of  the  Senate — The  Open- 
ing of  Hostilities — The  Court — Eeception  of  Cardinal  Maury  .  .  439 

CHAPTER  XXII. 

(1806-1807.) 

Death  of  Prince  Louis  of  Prussia— Battle  of  Jena— The  Queen  of  Prussia 
and  the  Emperor  Alexander — The  Emperor  and  the  Ee volution — Court 
Life  at  Mayence— Life  in  Paris— Marshal  Brune— Taking  of  Lubeck— 
The  Princess  of  Hatzfeld— The  Auditors  of  the  State  Council— Suffer- 
ings of  the  Army — The  King  of  Saxony — Battle  of  Eylau  .  .  .  463 

CHAPTER   XXIH. 
(1807.) 

The  Eeturn  of  the  Empress  to  Paris — The  Imperial  Family — Junot — Fouch6 
—The  Queen  of  Holland— Levy  of  the  Conscripts  of  1808— Theatricals  at 
Court— Letter  from  the  Emperor— Siege  of  Dantzic— Death  of  the  Em- 
press of  Austria— Death  of  Queen  Hortense'a  Son— M.  Decazes— The 
Emperor's  Want  of  Feeling 486 

CHAPTER  XXIV. 

(1807.) 

The  Duke  of  Dantzic— Fouche's  Police— Battle  of  Friedland— M.  de  La- 
meth— Treaty  of  Tilsit— Eeturn  of  the  Emperor— M.  de  Talleyrand— 
The  Ministers— The  Bishops 505 


CONTENTS. 


CHAPTER  XXV. 

(1807.)  PAG* 

Vexations  at  Court — Friendship  with  M.  de  Talleyrand — General  Kapp — Gen- 
eral Clarke — Session  of  the  Legislative  Bodies — The  Emperor's  Speech — 
Fetes  of  the  15th  of  August— Marriage  of  Jerome  Bonaparte— Death  of  Le 
Brun— The  Abbe  Delille— M.  de  Chateaubriand— Dissolution  of  the 
Tribunate— The  Court  removes  to  Fontainebleau  .  523 

CHAPTER  XXVI. 
(1807.) 

The  Power  of  the  Emperor— Resistance  of  the  English— The  Emperor's 
Life  at  Fontainebleau — Plays — Talma — King  J4rome — The  Princess  of 
Baden — The  Grand  Duchess  of  Berg — Princess  Borghese — Cambace'res 
—Foreign  Princes— Spanish  Affairs— Previsions  of  M.  de  Talleyrand— 
M.  de  Ke*musat  is  made  Superintendent  of  Theatres — The  Fortunes  and 
the  Difficulties  of  the  Marshals  ......  543 

CHAPTER  XXVII. 

(1807-1808.) 
Projects  of  Divorce  .  x    .  .      .     .  .  .  .580 

CHAPTER  XXVIII. 

(1807-1808.) 

Eeturn  from  Fontainebleau— The  Emperor's  Journey  in  Italy— The  Youth  of 
M.  de  Talleyrand— Fetes  at  the  Tuileries— The  Emperor  and  the  Artists 
—The  Emperor's  Opinion  of  the  English  Government— The  Marriage  of 
Mile,  de  Tascher— Count  Eomanzoff— Marriage  of  Marshal    Berthier— 
The  University— Affairs  of  Spain       .  ....    603 

CHAPTER  XXIX. 

(1808.) 

The  "War  with  Spain— The  Prince  of  the  Peace— The  Prince  of  the  Asturias 
—The  Abdication  of  King  Charles  IV.— The  Departure  of  the  Emperor 
—His  Sojourn  at  Bayorme— Letter  of  the  Emperor— Arrival  of  the 
Princes  in  France— Birth  of  the  Second  Son  of  the  Queen  of  Holland- 
Abdication  of  the  Prince  of  the  Asturias  .  .  .  .  631 

CONCLUSION •    649 

POSTSCRIPT •    C65 

NOTES  6?7 


PREFACE. 


I. 

MY  father  bequeathed  to  me  the  manuscript  of  the  me- 
moirs of  my  grandmother,  who  was  lady-in-waiting  to  the 
Empress  Josephine,  accompanied  by  an  injunction  that  I 
should  publish  them.  He  regarded  those  memoirs  as  ex- 
tremely important  to  the  history  of  the  first  portion  of  the 
present  century,  and  had  frequently  contemplated  publishing 
them  himself ;  but  he  was  always  hindered  from  doing  so, 
either  by  his  other  duties,  by  his  many  labors,  or  by  certain 
scruples.  He  deferred  the  moment  at  which  the  public  was 
to  be  made  acquainted  with  these  valuable  reminiscences  of 
an  epoch — recent,  indeed,  but  respecting  which  the  present 
generation  is  so  ill  informed — precisely  because  that  epoch 
was  recent,  and  many  persons  who  had  been  involved  in  its 
important  events  were  still  living.  Although  the  author  of 
these  memoirs  can  not  be  accused  of  intentional  malice,  she 
passes  judgment  upon  persons  and  things  very  freely.  A  cer- 
tain consideration,  which  is  not  always  consonant  with  the 
verity  of  history,  is  due,  not  only  to  the  living,  but  to  the 
children  of  the  dead ;  the  years  passed  on,  however,  and  the 
reasons  for  silence  diminished  with  the  lapse  of  time. 

About  1848  my  father  would  perhaps  have  allowed  this 
manuscript  to  see  the  light ;  but  the  empire  and  the  Emperor 
returned,  and  then  the  book  might  have  been  regarded  either 
as  a  piece  of  flattery  tendered  to  the  son  of  Queen  Hortense, 
who  is  very  gently  handled  by  the  writer,  or  as  a  direct  insult, 
on  other  points,  to  the  dynasty.  Circumstances  had  thus 
given  a  polemic  character — an  aspect  of  actuality,  as  the 


iv  PREFACE. 

phrase  goes — to  a  work  which  should  be  regarded  as  a  candid 
and  impartial  history,  the  narrative  of  a  remarkable  woman, 
who  relates  with  simple  sincerity  that  which  she  witnessed 
at  the  court  and  during  the  reign  of  the  Emperor,  and  who 
records  her  estimate  of  him  as  an  individual.  In  any  case,  it 
is  probable  that  the  book  would  have  been  prosecuted,  and 
its  publication  interdicted.  I  may  add,  lest  any  should  con- 
sider these  reasons  insufficient,  that  my  father,  who  was  al- 
ways willing  that  his  politics,  his  opinions,  and  his  personal 
conduct  should  be  discussed  by  the  critics  and  the  press,  who 
lived  in  the  full  glare  of  publicity,  yet  shrank  with  great  re- 
luctance from  placing  names  which  were  dear  to  him  before 
the  public.  That  they  should  incur  the  slightest  censure, 
that  they  should  be  uttered  with  any  severity  of  tone,  he 
dreaded  extremely.  He  was  timid  when  either  his  mother 
or  his  son  was  in  question.  His  love  for  his  mother  had  been 
the  "  grand  passion  "  of  his  life.  To  her  he  ascribed  all  the 
happiness  of  his  youth,  every  merit  which  he  possessed,  and 
all  the  success  of  every  kind  that  had  come  to  him  through- 
out his  whole  existence.  He  derived  from  her  his  qualities 
alike  of  heart  and  mind ;  he  was  bound  to  her  by  the  tie  of 
close  similarity  of  ideas,  as  well  as  by  that  of  filial  affection. 
Her  memory,  her  letters,  her  thoughts  occupied  a  place  in 
his  life  which  few  suspected,  for  he  seldom  spoke  of  her,  pre- 
cisely because  he  was  always  thinking  of  her,  and  he  would 
have  feared  imperfect  sympathy  from  others  in  his  admira- 
tion of  her  who  was  incomparable  in  his  eyes.  Who  among 
us  does  not  know  what  it  is  to  be  united  by  a  passionate, 
almost  fierce  affection  to  one  who  is  no  more ;  ceaselessly  to 
think  of  that  beloved  one,  to  question,  to  dream,  to  be  always 
under  the  impression  of  the  vanished  presence — of  the  silent 
counsels ;  to  feel  that  the  life  gone  from  us  is  mixed  up  with 
our  own  life,  every  day,  not  only  on  great  occasions,  and  in 
all  our  actions,  whether  public  or  private ;  and  yet,  that  we 
can  not  bear  to  speak  to  others  of  the  ever-present  occupant 
of  our  thoughts — no,  not  even  to  our  dearest  friends — and 


PREFACE.  v 

can  not  even  hear  the  dear  name  uttered  without  secret  pain 
and  disquiet?  Rarely,  indeed,  can  even  the  sweetness  of 
praise  lavished  upon  that  name  by  a  friend  or  a  stranger 
avail  to  soothe  our  deep,  mysterious  trouble,  or  render  it 
endurable. 

While,  however,  a  proper  and  natural  sentiment  dictates 
that  memoirs  should  not  appear  until  a  considerable  time  has 
elapsed,  it  is  equally  desirable  that  their  publication  should 
not  be  delayed  until  all  trace  of  the  facts  related,  of  the  im- 
pressions made,  or  of  the  eye-witnesses  of  events  has  passed 
away.  In  order  that  the  accuracy,  or  at  least  the  sincerity 
of  memoirs  may  not  be  disputed,  each  family  should  be  in  a 
position  to  substantiate  them  by  its  own  recollections ;  and  it 
is  well  that  the  generation  which  reads  them  should  follow 
that  which  they  depict.  The  records  they  contain  are  all  the 
more  useful  because  the  times  which  they  chronicle  have  not 
yet  become  altogether  historic.  This  is  our  case  at  the  pres- 
ent moment,  and  the  great  name  of  Napoleon  is  still  a  party 
battle-cry.  It  is  interesting  to  introduce  a  new  element  into 
the  strife  which  rages  around  that  majestic  shade.  Although 
the  epoch  of  the  First  Empire  has  been  much  discussed  by 
the  writers  of  memoirs,  the  inner  life  of  the  imperial  palace 
has  never  been  handled  freely,  and  in  detail ;  and  for  this 
good  reasons  have  existed.  The  functionaries  or  the  fre- 
quenters of  the  court  of  Napoleon  I.  did  not  care  to  reveal 
with  entire  unreserve  the  story  of  the  time  they  had  passed 
in  his  service.  The  majority,  having  joined  the  Legitimist 
ranks  after  the  Restoration,  were  humiliated  by  the  remem- 
brance that  they  had  served  the  usurper,  especially  in  offices 
which  are  generally  held  to  be  ennobled  only  by  the  heredi- 
tary greatness  of  him  who  confers  them  ;  and  their  descend- 
ants would  have  been  disconcerted  had  such  manuscripts 
been  left  to  them,  by  their  authors,  with  the  obligation  of 
giving  them  to  the  world.  It  would,  perhaps,  be  difficult  to 
find  another  editor,  also  a  grandson,  who  could  publish  such 
a  work  so  willingly  as  I.  The  talent  of  the  writer  and  the 


vi  PREFACE. 

utility  of  her  book  affect  me  much  more  than  the  difference 
between  the  opinions  of  my  grandmother  and  those  of  her 
descendants.  My  father's  life,  his  renown,  the  political  creed 
which  is  his  most  precious  bequest  to  me,  absolve  me  from 
any  necessity  for  explaining  how  and  why  it  is  that  I  do  not 
necessarily  adopt  all  the  views  of  the  author  of  these  Me- 
moirs. On  the  contrary,  it  would  be  easy  to  find  in  this 
book  the  first  traces  of  that  liberal  spirit  which  animated 
my  grandparents  in  the  first  days  of  the  Revolution,  which 
was  transmitted  to  and  happily  developed  in  their  son.  It 
was  almost  being  liberal  already  not  to  regard  the  principles 
of  political  liberty  with  hatred  at  the  end  of  the  last  century, 
when  so  many  people  were  ready  to  lay  crimes  which  tar- 
nished the  Revolution  to  the  charge  of  that  liberty,  and  to 
pass  judgment,  notwithstanding  the  true  admiration  and  the 
deep  gratitude  with  which  they  regarded  the  Emperor,  on 
the  defects  of  his  character  and  the  evils  of  despotism. 

Such  valuable  impartiality  was  rare  indeed  among  the 
contemporaries  of  the  great  Emperor,  nor  have  we  met  with 
it  in  our  own  time  among  the  servants  of  a  sovereign  far  less 
likely  to  dazzle  those  who  approached  him.  Such  a  senti- 
ment is,  however,  easy  at  the  present  day.  Events  have 
brought  France  into  a  state  in  which  she  is  ready  to  receive 
everything  with  equanimity,  to  judge  every  one  with  equity. 
We  have  observed  many  changes  of  opinion  concerning  the 
early  years  of  the  present  century.  One  need  not  have 
reached  a  very  advanced  stage  of  life  to  recall  a  time  when 
the  legend  of  the  Empire  was  accepted  even  by  the  enemies 
of  the  Empire ;  when  it  might  be  admired  with  impunity ; 
when  children  believed  in  an  Emperor,  who  was  at  once  a 
grand  personage  and  a  good  fellow,  somewhat  like  the  notion 
of  God  entertained  by  Beranger,  who  indeed  turned  both 
God  and  Napoleon  into  heroes  for  his  odes.  The  most  <Je- 
tennined  adversaries  of  despotism,  those  who  were  them- 
selves destined  to  undergo  persecution  by  a  new  Empire, 
brought  back  to  France  the  mortal  remains  of  Napoleon  the 


PREFACE.  vii 

Great — his  "  ashes,"  as,  lending  an  antique  coloring  to  a  mod- 
em ceremony,  it  was  the  fashion  to  say  just  then.  At  a  later 
date,  experience  of  the  Second  Empire  opened  the  eyes,  even 
of  those  who  do  not  admit  passion  into  politics,  to  the  truth 
respecting  the  first.  The  disasters  brought  upon  France  in 
1870,  by  Napoleon  III.,  have  reminded  us  that  it  was  the 
other  Emperor  who  commenced  that  fatal  work;  and  an 
almost  general  malediction  rises  to  the  lips  of  the  nation  at 
that  name — Bonaparte — which  was  once  uttered  with  re- 
spectful enthusiasm.  So  fluctuating  is  the  justice  of  nations! 
It  is,  however,  allowable  to  say  that  the  justice  of  France 
to-day  comes  nearer  to  true  justice  than  at  the  time  when, 
swayed  by  the  longing  for  rest  and  the  dread  of  liberty,  she 
surrendered  herself  to  the  passion  for  military  glory.  Be- 
tween these  two  extremes  how  many  modes  of  opinion  have 
arisen,  and  gone  through  their  several  phases  of  triumph  and 
decline !  It  will  be  evident  to  all  readers,  I  hope,  that  the 
author  of  the  following  Memoirs,  who  came  to  the  Court  in 
her  youth,  regarded  those  problems  which  were  then  and  still 
are  in  debate,  although  General  Bonaparte  thought  he  had 
solved  them,  with  an  entire  absence  of  prejudice.  Her  opin- 
ions were  formed  by  degrees,  like  the  opinions  of  France 
itself,  which  was  also  very  young  in  those  days.  She  was  at 
first  dazzled  and  aroused  to  enthusiasm  by  the  great  genius  of 
the  age,  but  she  afterward  recovered  the  balance  of  her  judg- 
ment by  the  aid  of  events  and  of  contact  with  other  minds. 
More  than  one  of  our  contemporaries  may  find  in  these  Me- 
moirs an  explanation  of  the  conduct  or  the  state  of  mind  of 
some  persons  of  their  kin  whose  Bonapartism  or  Liberalism 
at  different  epochs  has  hitherto  appeared  inexplicable  to  them. 
And  also — not  their  least  merit  in  my  eyes — these  Memoirs 
will  reveal  to  the  reader  the  first  germs  of  a  remarkable  tal- 
ent, which  was  developed  in  the  writer's  son  to  a  supreme 
degree. 

A  brief  summary  of  the  life  of  my  grandmother,  or  at 
least  of  the  period  which  preceded  her  arrival  at  Court,  is 


viii  PREFACE. 

indispensable  to  the  reader's  comprehension  of  the  impres- 
sions and  the  remembrances  which  she  brought  thither.  My 
father  had  frequently  projected  a  complete  biography  of  his 
parents,  and  had,  indeed,  sketched  out  some  portions  of  the 
work.  He  did  not  leave  any  of  it  in  a  finished  condition ; 
but  a  great  number  of  notes  and  fragments  written  by  his 
own  hand,  concerning  the  members  of  his  family,  his  own 
youthful  opinions,  and  persons  whom  he  had  known,  render 
it  easy  to  narrate  the  incidents  of  my  grandmother's  early 
years,  the  feelings  with  which  she  entered  upon  her  life  at 
Court,  and  the  circumstances  that  led  her  to  write  her  Me- 
moirs. It  is  also  in  my  power  to  add  some  comments  upon 
her  by  her  son,  which  will  lead  the  reader  to  know  and  es- 
teem her.  It  was  my  father's  strong  desire  that  her  readers 
should  be  inspired  with  kindly  sentiments  toward  the  object 
of  his  own  devoted  love  and  admiration ;  and  I  believe  that 
the  perusal  of  her  reminiscences,  and  especially  of  her  cor- 
respondence, which  is  also  to  be  given  to  the  public  in  due 
time,  can  not  fail  to  secure  the  realization  of  his  wish. 


II. 

Claire  Elisabeth  Jeanne  Gravier  de  Yergennes  was  born 
on  the  5th  of  January,  1780.  Her  father  was  Charles  Gra- 
vier de  Yergennes,  Counselor  to  the  Parliament  of  Bur- 
gundy, Master  of  Kequests,*  afterward  Intendant  of  Auch, 
and  finally  Director  of  the  Yingtiemes.  f  My  great-grand- 
father was  not,  therefore,  as  it  has  been  frequently  but  erro- 
neously stated,  the  minister  who  was  so  well  known  as  the 
Comte  de  Yergennes.  That  minister  had  an  elder  brother 
who  was  called  "  the  Marquis,"  the  first  of  the  family,  I  be- 
lieve, who  bore  such  a  title.  This  marquis  had  quitted  the 

*  An  officer  in  France,  whose  duty  it  is  to  report  petitions  to  the  Council  of 
State. 

f  The  Vingtibne  was  a  tax  imposed,  under  the  ancien  regime,  on  land  and 
house  property,  and  which  amounted  to  a  twentieth  of  the  revenue. 


PREFACE.  ix 

magistracy  to  enter  upon  a  diplomatic  career.  He  was  act- 
ing as  minister  in  Switzerland  in  1777,  when  the  French 
treaties  with  the  Helvetian  Republic  were  renewed.  After- 
ward he  was  given  the  title  of  ambassador.  His  son,  Charles 
Gravier  de  Yergennes,  who  was  born  at  Dijon  in  1751,  mar- 
ried Adelaide  Franchise  de  Bastard,  born  about  1760.  This 
lady's  family  came  originally  from  Gascony,  and  a  branch  of 
it,  whose  members  distinguished  themselves  at  the  bar  and 
in  the  magistracy,  was  settled  at  Toulouse.  Her  father, 
Dominique  de  Bastard,  born  at  Laffitte  (Haute-Garonne),  had 
been  one  of  the  counselors  to  the  parliament,  and  was  the 
senior  counselor  at  the  time  of  his  death.  His  bust  is  in  the 
Salle  des  Illustres  in  the  Capitol.  He  took  an  active  part  in 
the  measures  of  Chancellor  Maupeou.  His  daughter's  hus- 
band, M.  de  Yergennes,  being  a  member  of  the  legal  pro- 
fession, bore,  as  was  the  custom  under  the  old  regime,  no 
title.  It  is  said  that  he  was  a  man  of  only  ordinary  ability, 
who  took  his  pleasure  in  life  without  much  discrimination, 
but  also  that  he  had  good  sense  and  was  a  useful  official.  He 
belonged  to  that  administrative  school  of  which  MM.  de 
Trudaine  were  the  leaders. 

Madame  de  Yergennes,  of  whom  my  father  constantly 
spoke,  was  a  person  of  more  individuality  of  character ;  she 
was  both  clever  and  good.  When  he  was  quite  a  child,  my 
father  was  on  most  confidential  terms  with  her,  as  grandsons 
frequently  are  with  their  grandmothers.  In  his  bright  and 
kindly  nature,  his  pleasant  raillery,  which  was  never  mali- 
cious, he  resembled  her ;  and  from  her  he  also  inherited  his 
musical  gifts,  a  good  voice  for  singing,  and  a  quick  memory 
for  the  airs  and  couplets  of  the  vaudevilles  of  the  day.  He 
never  lost  his  habit  of  humming  the  popular  songs  of  the  old 
regime.  Madame  de  Yergennes  had  the  ideas  of  her  time — 
a  touch  of  philosophy,  stopping  short  of  incredulity,  and  a 
certain  repugnance  to  the  Court,  although  she  regarded  Louis 
XYI.  with  affection  and  respect.  Her  intellect,  which  was 
bright,  practical,  and  independent,  was  highly  cultivated ; 


x  PREFACE. 

her  conversation  was  brilliant  and  sometimes  very  free,  after 
the  manner  of  the  period.  Nevertheless,  she  gave  her  two 
daughters,  Claire  and  Alix,*  a  strict  and  indeed  rather  soli- 
tary education,  for  it  was  the  fashion  of  that  day  that  parents 
should  see  but  little  of  their  children.  The  two  sisters  studied 
in  a  large,  fireless  room,  apart  from  the  rest  of  the  house, 
under  the  inspection  of  a  governess,  and  were  instructed  in 
what  may  be  called  the  frivolous  arts — music,  drawing,  and 
dancing.  They  were  seldom  taken  to  see  a  play,  but  they 
were  occasionally  indulged  with  a  visit  to  the  opera,  and  now 
and  then  with  a  ball. 

M.  de  Vergennes  had  not  desired  or  foreseen  the  Revolu- 
tion ;  but  he  was  neither  displeased  nor  alarmed  by  it.  He 
and  his  friends  belonged  to  that  citizen  class,  ennobled  by 
holding  public  offices,  which  seemed  to  be  the  nation  itself, 
and  he  can  not  have  found  himself  much  out  of  his  place 
among  those  who  were  called  "the  electors  of  '89."  He 
was  elected  a  member  of  the  Council  of  the  Commune,  and 
made  a  major  in  the  National  Guard.  M.  de  Lafayette, 
whose  granddaughter  was  to  become  the  wife  of  M.  de  Ver- 
gennes's  grandson,  forty  years  after,  and  M.  Eoyer-Collard, 
whom  that  grandson  was  to  succeed  at  the  French  Academy, 
treated  him  like  one  of  themselves.  His  opinions  were  more 
in  accordance  with  those  of  M.  Royer-Collard  than  with  those 
of  H.  de  Lafayette,  and  the  French  Revolution  soon  shot  far 
ahead  of  him.  He  did  not,  however,  feel  any  inclination  to 
emigrate.  His  patriotism,  as  well  as  his  attachment  to  Louis 
XYL,  led  him  to  remain  in  France ;  and  thus  he  was  unable 
to  elude  that  fate  which,  in  1793,  threatened  all  who  were  in 
positions  similar  to  his  and  of  the  same  way  of  thinking. 
He  was  falsely  accused  of  intending  to  emigrate,  by  the 
Administration  of  the  Department  of  Saone  et  Loire;  his 
property  was  placed  under  sequestration ;  and  he  was  arrest- 
ed in  Paris,  at  the  house  in  the  Rue  Saint  Eustache  which 

*  Some  years  later,  Mademoiselle  Alix  de  Vergennes  married  General  de 
Nansouty. 


PREFACE. 


XI 


he  had  inhabited  since  1788.  The  man  who  arrested  him 
had  no  warrant  from  the  Committee  of  Public  Safety  except 
for  the  arrest  of  M.  de  Yergennes's  father.  He  took  the  son 
because  he  lived  with  the  father,  and  both  died  on  the  same 
scaffold  on  the  6th  Thermidor  (24th  July,  1794),  three  days 
before  the  fall  of  Robespierre.* 

M.  de  Yergennes's  death  left  his  unhappy  wife  and  daugh- 
ters unprotected,  and  in  straitened  circumstances,  as  he  had 
sold  his  estate  in  Burgundy  a  short  time  previously,  and  its 
price  had  been  confiscated  by  the  nation.  There  remained 
to  them,  however,  one  friend,  not  powerful,  indeed,  but  full 
of  zeal  and  good  will.  This  was  a  young  man  with  whom 
M.  de  Yergennes  had  become  acquainted  in  the  early  days 
of  the  Revolution,  whose  family  had  formerly  been  of  some 
importance  in  the  commercial  world,  and  also  in  the  civic 
administration  of  Marseilles,  so  that  the  younger  members 
were  taking  their  places  in  the  magistracy  and  in  the  army, 
in  short,  among  "  the  privileged,"  as  the  phrase  then  went. 
This  young  man,.Augustin  Laurent  de  Remusat,  was  born 
at  Yalensoles,  in  Provence,  on  the  28th  of  August,  1762. 
After  having  studied,  with  great  credit,  at  Juilly,  the  former 
seat  of  that  Oratorian  College  which  still  exists  near  Paris, 
he  was  nominated,  at  twenty  years  of  age,  advocate-general 
to  the  Cour  des  Aides  and  the  Charribre  des  Comptes  JReunies  f 
of  Provence.  My  father  has  sketched  the  portrait  of  that 
young  man,  his  arrival  in  Paris,  and  his  life  in  the  midst  of 
the  new  society.  The  following  note  tells,  better  than  I 
could,  how  M.  de  Remusat  loved  and  married  Mademoiselle 
Claire  de  Yergennes : 

"  The  society  of  Aix,  a  city  in  which  nobles  dwelt  and  a 
parliament  assembled,  was  of  the  brilliant  order.  My  father 
lived  a  great  deal  in  society.  He  was  of  an  agreeable  pres- 

*  For  the  text  of  the  accusation  against  M.  de  Vergennes,  see  Appendix. 

f  These  obsolete  institutions  have  no  English  equivalents.  They  are,  re- 
spectively, the  auxiliary  and  superior  courts  established  for  the  examination  of 
the  accounts  of  the  receivers  of  the  money  of  the  state. 


xii  PREFACE. 

ence,  had  a  great  deal  of  pleasant  humor,  fine  and  polished 
manners,  high  spirits,  and  a  reputation  for  gallantry.  He 
sought  and  obtained  all  the  social  success  that  a  young  man 
could  desire.  Nevertheless,  he  attended  sedulously  to  his 
profession,  which  he  liked,  and  he  married,  in  1783,  Made- 
moiselle de  Sannes,  the  daughter  of  the  Procureur- General 
of  his  Compagnie.  This  marriage  was  dissolved  by  the  death 
of  Madame  de  Remusat,  who  died  shortly  after  the  birth  of 
a  daughter. 

"  The  Revolution  broke  out ;  the  supreme  courts  were 
suppressed ;  and  the  settling  of  their  business  was  a  serious 
and  important  affair.  In  order  to  carry  it  through,  the 
Cour  des  Aides  sent  a  deputation  to  Paris.  My  father  was 
one  of  the  delegates.  He  has  often  told  me  that  he  then 
had  occasion  to  see  M.  de  Mirabeau,  deputy  for  Aix,  on  the 
business  of  his  mission  ;  and,  notwithstanding  his  prejudices 
as  an  adherent  of  the  old  parliaments,  he  was  charmed  with 
Mirabeau's  pompous  politeness.  My  father  never  told  me 
details  of  his  manner  of  living,  so  that  I  do  not  know 
what  were  the  circumstances  under  which  he  went  to  the 
house  of  my  grandfather  Yergennes.  He  passed  through 
the  terrible  years  of  the  Revolution  alone  and  unknown  in 
Paris,  and  without  any  personal  mishaps.  Society  no  longer 
existed.  His  company  was  therefore  all  the  more  agreeable, 
and  even  the  more  useful  to  my  grandmother  (Madame  de 
Yergennes),  who  was  involved  in  great  anxieties  and  mis- 
fortunes. My  father  used  to  tell  me  that  my  grandfather 
was  a  commonplace  sort  of  man,  but  he  soon  learned  to  ap- 
preciate my  grandmother  very  highly,  and  she  conceived  a 
liking  for  him.  She  was  a  wise,  moderate-minded  woman, 
who  entertained  no  fancies,  cherished  no  prejudices,  and 
gave  way  to  no  impulses.  She  distrusted  everything  in 
which  there  was  any  exaggeration,  and  detested  affectation 
of  every  kind,  but  she  was  readily  touched  by  solid  worth 
and  by  genuine  feeling ;  while  her  clear-headedness  and  her 
practical,  somewhat  sarcastic  turn  of  mind  preserved  her 


PREFACE. 

from  everything  that  lacked  prudence  or  morality.  Her 
head  was  never  betrayed  by  her  heart ;  but,  as  she  had  suf- 
fered from  the  neglect  of  a  husband  to  whom  she  was  supe- 
rior, she  was  disposed  to  make  inclination  and  choice  the 
ruling  motives  of  marriage. 

"Immediately  after  the  death  of  my  grandfather,  a 
decree  was  issued,  by  which  all  nobles  were  ordered  to  quit 
Paris.  Madame  de  Yergennes  retired  to  Saint  Gratien,  in 
the  valley  of  Montmorency,  with  her  two  daughters,  Claire 
and  Alix ;  and  she  gave  my  father  permission  to  follow  her 
thither.  His  presence  was  precious  to  them.  His  bright 
and  cheerful  nature,  his  amiability,  and  careful  attentions  to 
those  he  loved,  made  him  a  charming  companion.  His  taste 
for  a  quiet  life,  the  country,  and  seclusion,  and  his  cultivated 
mind,  exactly  fitted  him  for  a  family  circle  composed  of  in- 
telligent persons,  and  in  which  education  was  always  going 
on.  I  can  not  believe  that  my  grandmother  did  not  early 
foresee  and  acquiesce  in  that  which  was  destined  to  happen, 
even  supposing  there  was  not  at  that  time  anything  to  read 
in  the  heart  of  her  daughter.  It  is  certain,  for  my  mother 
says  so  in  several  of  her  letters,  that,  although  she  was  then 
only  a  child,  her  prematurely  serious  turn  of  mind,  her  sen- 
sitive and  emotional  nature,  her  vivid  imagination,  and 
finally,  the  combined  influences  of  intimacy,  solitude,  and 
misfortune,  all  united  to  inspire  her  with  an  interest  in  my 
father,  which  had  from  the  first  all  the  characteristics  of  a 
lofty  and  abiding  sentiment.  I  do  not  think  I  have  ever 
met  a  woman  in  whom  so  much  moral  strictness  was  com- 
bined with  so  much  romantic  sensibility  as  in  my  mother. 
Her  youth,  her  extreme  youth,  was,  as  it  were,  steadied  by 
those  fortunate  circumstances  which  bound  her  to  duty  by 
ties  of  passion,  and  procured  for  her  that  rare  combination, 
peace  of  soul  and  the  delightful  agitation  of  the  heart. 

"  She  was  not  tall,  but  her  figure  was  elegant  and  well 
proportioned.  She  was  fair  and  plump ;  indeed,  it  used  to 
be  feared  that  she  would  grow  too  fat.  Her  eyes  were  fine 


xiv  PREFACE. 

and  expressive,  black,  like  her  hair ;  her  features  were  regu- 
lar, but  rather  too  large.  Her  countenance  was  grave,  al- 
most imposing ;  but  the  intelligent  kindliness  of  her  glance 
tempered  the  gravity  of  her  features  very  pleasantly.  Her 
strong,  well-trained,  fertile  intellect  had  certain  virile  quali- 
ties, with  which  the  extreme  vividness  of  her  imagination 
frequently  clashed.  She  possessed  sound  judgment  and 
keen  powers  of  observation,  and  she  was  entirely  unaffected 
in  her  manners  and  in  her  modes  of  expression,  although 
she  was  not  without  a  certain  subtlety  of  ideas.  In  reality, 
she  was  profoundly  reasonable,  but  she  was  headstrong ;  her 
intellect  was  more  reasonable  than  herself.  In  her  youth 
she  lacked  gayety  and  probably  ease,  may  have  appeared  to 
be  pedantic  because  she  was  serious,  affected  because  she  was 
silent,  absent-minded,  and  indifferent  to  almost  all  the  small 
things  of  every-day  life.  But,  with  her  mother,  whose 
cheerful  moods  she  sometimes  crossed,  with  her  husband, 
whose  simple  tastes  and  easy  temper  she  never  crossed,  she 
was  not  wanting  in  richness  and  freedom.  She  had  even  a 
kind  of  gayety  of  her  own,  which  developed  as  she  grew 
older,  when,  having  been  very  absent  and  absorbed  in  her 
own  thoughts  while  she  was  very  young,  she  became  more 
like  her  mother.  I  have  often  thought  that,  if  she  had  lived 
long  enough  to  share  the  house  in  which  I  am  writing  to- 
day, she  would  have  been  the  merriest  of  us  all." 

My  father  wrote  these  lines  in  1857,  at  Laffitte  (Haute- 
Garonne),  where  all  those  whom  he  loved  were  assembled, 
and  we  were  gay  and  happy.  In  quoting  them  I  am  some- 
what outrunning  my  narrative,  for  he  speaks  here  of  his 
mother  as  of  a  woman  and  not  as  of  a  young  girl,  and  Claire 
de  Yergennes,  when  she  married,  early  in  the  year  1796,  was 
hardly  sixteen  years  old. 

M.  and  Mme.  de  K£musat — for  thus  I  shall  designate 
them  henceforth,  for  the  sake  of  clearness  in  my  story — 
lived  sometimes  in  Paris,  and  sometimes  in  a  modest  country 
house  at  Saint  Gratien,  a  residence  which  had  two  strong 


PEEFAGE.  xv 

recommendations — the  beauty  of  the  landscape  and  the  at- 
traction of  the  neighborhood. 

Nearest  and  pleasantest  of  neighbors  were  the  owners  of 
Sannois,  with  whom  Madame  de  Yergennes  was  very  inti- 
mate. Jean  Jacques  Rousseau's  "Confessions,"  Madame 
d'Epinay's  "  Memoires,"  and  a  hundred  works  of  the  last 
century  as  well,  have  made  the  place  and  the  persons  known 
to  the  world.  Madame  d'Houdetot  (Sophie  de  Lalive)  had 
lived  peacefully,  in  her  old  age,  throughout  the  troublous 
time  of  the  Revolution  in  that  country  house,  in  the  society 
of  her  husband  and  of  M.  de  Saint  Lambert.*  Between  the 
famous  trio  and  the  young  couple  at  Saint  Gratien  so  close 
an  intimacy  was  formed  that,  when  the  house  at  Saint  Gra- 
tien was  sold,  my  grandparents  hired  one  within  a  shorter 
distance  of  the  residence  of  their  friends,  and  a  way  of  com- 
munication was  made  between  the  gardens  of  their  respective 
abodes.  By  degrees,  however,  M.  de  Remusat  got  into  the 
habit  of  going  to  Paris  more  and  more  frequently ;  and,  as 
the  times  became  quieter,  he  began  to  think  of  emerging 
from  obscurity,  and  from  the  narrow  circumstances  to  which 
he  was  reduced  by  the  confiscation  of  the  property  of  his 
wife's  father  and  the  loss  of  his  own  place  in  the  magistracy. 
As  is  always  the  case  in  France,  it  was  of  employment  in 
some  public  function  that  he  thought.  He  had  no  relations 
with  the  Government,  or  even  with  M.  de  Talleyrand,  who 
was  then  Foreign  Minister,  but  he  directed  his  efforts  toward 
that  department,  and  obtained,  if  not  exactly  a  place,  at  least 
an  occupation,  which  was  likely  to  lead  to  a  place,  in  the 
office  of  the  solicitors  to  the  Ministry. 

Besides  the  agreeable  and  intellectual  relations  which 
they  maintained  with  Sannois,  M.  and  Mme.  de  Remusat 
had  formed  an  intimacy  no  less  close,  but  which  was  destined 
to  exercise  a  much  greater  influence  over  their  fortunes, 
with  Madame  de  Beauharnais,  who,  in  1796,  became  the 
wife  of  Bonaparte.  When  her  friend  had  acquired  power 

*  Soe  Appendix. 


xvi  PREFACE. 

through  her  all-powerful  husband,  Madame  de  Yergennes 
applied  to  her  on  behalf  of  her  son-in-law,  who  wished  to 
enter  the  Council  of  State  or  the  Administration.  The 
First  Consul,  however,  or  his  wife,  had  a  different  idea  of 
what  ought  to  be  done.  The  consideration  and  respect  in 
which  Madame  de  Yergennes  was  held,  her  social  station, 
her  name — which  was  allied  both  to  the  old  regime  and  to 
the  new  ideas — gave  a  certain  value  to  the  relations  of  her 
family  with  the  consular  palace,  which  at  that  time  had  but 
little  intercourse  with  Parisian  society.  Quite  unexpectedly, 
M.  de  Remusat  was  appointed  Prefect  of  the  Palace,  in 
1802;  and  shortly  afterward  Madame  de  Remusat  became 
Lady-in-Waiting  (Dame  pour  Accompagner)  to  Madame 
Bonaparte,  a  title  which  was  soon  changed  into  the  better 
sounding  one  of  Lady  of  the  Palace  (Dame  du  Palais). 

in. 

Persons  of  the  way  of  thinking  of  M.  and  Mine,  de 
!Remusat  had  no  sacrifice  to  make  in  casting  in  their  lot 
with  the  new  regime.  They  had  neither  the  extravagant 
sentiments  of  the  Royalists,  nor  the  austerity  of  the  Repub- 
licans. No  doubt  their  attitude  of  mind  approached  more 
nearly  to  that  of  the  Royalists  than  to  that  of  the  Republi- 
« cans,  but  their  royalism  reduced  itself  to  pious  veneration 
for  Louis  XYI.  The  misfortunes  of  that  unhappy  prince 
rendered  his  memory  sacred,  and  his  person  had  always  been 
regarded  in  the  family  of  M.  de  Yergennes  with  peculiar 
respect.;  but  -"Legitimacy"  had  not  yet  been  invented,  and 
those  persons  who  most  deeply  deplored  the  fall  of  the  old 
regime,  or  rather  that  of  the  ancient  dynasty,  did  not  hold 
themselves  under  any  obligation  to  believe  that  everything 
done  in  France  in  the  absence  of  the  Bourbons  was  null  and 
void.  Pure  and  unalloyed  admiration  was  inspired  by  the 
young  general  who  was  reestablishing  material,  if  not  moral 
order,  with  such  .brilliant  success,  in  a  society  which  was  dis- 


PREFACE.  xvii 

tiirbed  after  a  fashion  very  different  from  that  of  those  suc- 
cessive later  times,  in  which  so  many  worthless  "  saviours  " 
have  turned  up. 

Public  functionaries  in  those  days  adhered  to  the  opinion 
which  was  very  natural  under  the  old  regime,  that  an  official 
is  responsible  only  for  what  he  does,  and  not  for  either  the 
acts  or  the  origin  of  the  Government.  The  sense  of  "  soli- 
darity "  does  not  exist  in  absolute  monarchies.  The  parlia- 
mentary regime  has  happily  rendered  us  more  sensitive,  and 
all  honest  people  now  admit  the  collective  responsibility  of 
all  the  agents  of  a  power.  One  could  not  nowadays  serve  a 
government  whose  tendency  and  general  policy  one  did  not 
approve  ;  but  it  was  otherwise  in  former  times.  My  father 
— who  had  more  right  than  any  one  else  to  be  strict  in  these 
matters,  and  who,  perhaps,  owed  somewhat  of  his  extreme 
political  scrupulousness  to  the  difficult  position  in  which  he 
had  seen  his  parents  placed  during  his  own  childhood,  be- 
tween their  private  impressions  and  their  official  duties — 
explains  these  shades  of  difference  in  an  unpublished  letter 
to  M.  Sainte  Beuve,  to  whom  he  had  communicated  certain 
biographical  details  for  an  article  in  the  "  Revue  des  Deux 
Mondes." 

"  It  wras  not  as  a  pis  alien*,  from  necessity,  weakness,  or 
as  a  temporary  expedient,  that  my  parents  attached  them- 
selves to  the  new  regime.  Of  their  free  will  and  with  entire 
confidence  they  united  themselves  with  its  fortunes.  If  you 
add  to  that  all  the  pleasures  of  an  easy  and  prominent  posi- 
tion to  be  stepped  into  from  one  of  poverty  and  obscurity, 
the  curiosity  which  a  court  of  so  novel  a  kind  inspired,  the 
incomparable  interest  of  the  spectacle  of  a  man  like  the 
Emperor  at  an  epoch  when  he  was  irreproachable,  young, 
and  still  amiable,  you  can  easily  conceive  the  attraction 
which  induced  my  parents  to  overlook  all  that  was  in  reality 
opposed  to  their  tastes,  their  reason,  and  even  their  true  in- 
terests in  this  new  position.  At  the  end  of  two  or  three 
years,  they  had  learned  too  well  that  a  court  is  always  a 


xviii  PREFACE. 

court,  and  that  all  is  not  pleasure  in  the  personal  service  of 
an  absolute  master,  even  though  he  may  charm  and  dazzle. 
But  this  did  not  prevent  their  being  for  a  long  time  well 
enough  satisfied  with  their  lot.  My  mother  especially  was 
much  amused  with  all  that  passed  before  her  eyes,  and  she 
was  on  very  good  terms  with  the  Empress,  who  was  ex- 
tremely kind  and  generous,  while  she  enthusiastically  ad- 
mired the  Emperor.  He  treated  my  mother  with  flattering 
distinction.  She  was  almost  the  only  woman  with  whom  he 
ever  talked.  My  mother  would  sometimes  say,  after  the 
Empire  had  ceased  to  exist : 

'  Va,  je  t'ai  trop  aim6  pour  ne  pas  te  hair! ' ' 

Of  the  impressions  made  by  the  new  Court  upon  the 
new  Lady  of  the  Palace  we  have  no  record.  The  security 
of  the  Post-office  was  very  doubtful.  Madame  de  Yergennes 
burned  all  her  daughter's  letters,  and  the  correspondence  of 
the  latter  with  her  husband  does  not  commence  until  some 
years  later,  during  the  Emperor's  journeys  in  Italy  and  Ger- 
many. Nevertheless,  we  can  perceive  from  her  Memoirs, 
although  they  do  not  abound  in  personal  details,  how  strange 
and  novel  everything  seemed  to  so  very  young  a  woman, 
transplanted  all  of  a  sudden  into  this  palace,  and  an  eye- 
witness of  the  private  life  of  the  glorious  chief  of  an  un- 
known government.  She  was  very  serious,  as,  when  they 
are  not  very  frivolous,  the  young  are  apt  to  be,  and  much 
disposed  to  observation  and  reflection.  She  seems  to  have 
had  no  taste  for  display,  no  great  solicitude  about  external 
things,  no  turn  for  gossip  or  the  running  down  of  other  peo- 
ple, no  love  of  talking  or  display.  "What  was  thought  of  her 
at  that  time  ?  "We  can  not  tell.  "We  only  know,  from  cer- 
tain passages  in  sundry  letters  and  memoirs,  that  she  was 
considered  clever,  and  that  people  were  a  little  afraid  of  her. 
Probably,  however,  her  companions  thought  her  pedantic 
rather  than  dangerous.  She  had  a  considerable  "  success," 
especially  at  first ;  for  in  its  early  days  the  Court  was  not 


PREFACE.  xix 

numerous  —  there  were  few  distinctions  or  favors  to  be 
schemed  for,  rivalry  was  not  very  brisk  or  ardent.  Little  by 
little,  however,  this  little  society  became  a  real  court.  Now, 
courtiers  are  always  afraid  of  intellect,  and  especially  of  that 
disposition,  unintelligible  to  them,  which  clever  people  have 
to  interest  themselves  in  a  disinterested  manner,  so  to  speak, 
in  knowing  things  and  judging  characters,  without  even 
thinking  of  turning  their  knowledge  to  their  own  advantage. 
Courtiers  always  suspect  that  every  opinion  has  a  hidden  aim. 
Persons  of  quick  intellect  are  very  strongly  impressed  by  the 
spectacle  of  human  affairs,  even  when  they  are  merely  look- 
ing on  at  them.  And  that  faculty  is  the  most  incomprehen- 
sible to  those  who  do  not  possess  it,  and  who  attribute  its 
effects  to  some  personal  motive,  or  interested  calculation. 
They  suspect  intrigue  or  resentment  every  time  that  they 
observe  a  movement  in  any  direction,  but  they  have  no  idea 
of  the  spontaneous  and  gratuitous  action  of  the  mind.  Every- 
one has  been  exposed  to  mistrust  of  this  kind,  which  is  more 
to  be  dreaded  when  a  woman,  endowed  with  excessive  ac- 
tivity of  imagination,  and  drawn  on  by  her  intelligence  to 
form  opinions  on  matters  out  of  her  sphere,  is  in  question. 
Many  persons,  especially  in  that  somewhat  coarse  society, 
would  detect  egotism  and  pretension  in  her  life  and  conver- 
sation, and  accuse  her  unduly  of  ambition. 

That  her  husband  was  entirely  devoid  of  ambition,  and 
free  from  any  disposition  to  intrigue,  was  evident  to  all. 
The  position  in  which  the  favor  of  the  First  Consul  had 
placed  him  did  not  suit  him  ;  he  would,  no  doubt,  have  pre- 
ferred some  laborious  administrative  function  to  one  which 
demanded  nothing  of  him  but  suavity  and  a  graceful  de- 
meanor. From  the  "  Memoirs,"  from  his  own  letters,  and 
from  my  father's  account  of  him,  we  gather  that  M.  de 
Ke*musat  was  a  man  of  discreet  conduct,  with  keen  wits,  and 
a  cheerful  and  even  temper — not  at  all  a  person  calculated 
to  make  enemies.  Indeed,  he  would  never  have  had  any, 
but  for  a  certain  shyness,  which,  little  as  it  seems  to  harmo- 


XX  PREFACE. 

nize  with  conversational  powers  and  an  agreeable  manner,  is, 
nevertheless,  occasionally  allied  with  them.  His  taste  for 
quiet  life,  and  some  indolence  and  timidity  of  character,  had 
impelled  him  more  and  more  toward  retirement  and  isola- 
tion. Modesty  and  self-esteem  mingled  in  his  nature ;  and, 
without  rendering  him  insensible  to  the  honors  of  the  post 
which  he  had  obtained,  they  sometimes  made  him  ashamed 
of  the  solemn  trifles  to  which  that  very  post  forced  him  to 
devote  his  life.  He  believed  himself  to  be  made  for  better 
things,  but  he  did  not  care  for  toiling  in  search  of  that  which 
did  not  come  to  him  of  itself.  He  took  but  little  pleasure 
in  expressing  the  art,  in  which  he  was  probably  not  deficient, 
of  managing  men.  He  did  not  love  to  put  himself  forward, 
and  his  indolent  temperament  induced  him  to  let  things  take 
their  chance.  He  afterward  became  a  hard-working  prefect, 
but  he  was  a  negligent  and  inactive  courtier.  He  employed 
his  skill  simply  to  avoid  disputes,  and  he  discharged  his  offi- 
cial functions  with  quiet  good  taste.  After  having  had  many 
friends,  and  entered  into  numerous  relations,  he  let  them 
drop  through,  or  at  least  he  never  seemed  to  do  anything  to 
retain  them.  Unless  great  care  be  taken,  ties  are  loosened, 
recollections  are  effaced,  rivalries  are  formed,  and  all  the 
chances  of  ambition  escape  one's  grasp.  M.  de  Kemusat  had 
no  skill  in  playing  a  part,  forming  connections,  bringing 
people  together,  or  contriving  the  opportunities  of  fortune 
or  success.  He  seems  never  to  have  regretted  this.  It 
would  be  easy  for  me  to  trace  his  motives— to  depict  his 
character  in  detail,  and  to  narrate  his  errors,  his  grievances, 
and  even  his  sufferings ;  for  was  he  not  my  grandfather  ? 

The  first  severe  trial  which  M.  and  Mme.  de  Eemusat 
had  to  endure  in  their  new  position  was  the  murder  of  the 
Due  d'Enghien.  How  profound  was  the  grief  which  they 
felt  when  the  man  whom  they  ardently  admired,  as  the  ex- 
press image  of  power  and  genius,  and  whom  they  strove  to 
love,  stained  his  hands  with  innocent  blood,  and  they  were 
forced  to  recognize  that  such  a  deed  was  simply  the  result  of 


PREFACE.  xxi 

a  cold  and  inhuman  calculation,  the  following  narrative  will 
prove.  It  will,  indeed,  be  seen  that  the  impression  made 
by  the  crime  upon  all  honest  persons  at  the  Court  was  even 
deeper  than  that  which  it  produced  outside  among  the  gen- 
eral public,  who  had  become  almost  indifferent,  through  cus- 
tom, to  deeds  of  this  kind.  Even  among  the  Royalists,  who 
were  absolutely  inimical  to  the  Government,  the  event  caused 
more  sorrow  than  indignation,  so  perverted  had  the  public 
mind  become  in  political  matters  and  respecting  State  ex- 
pedients !  Where  could  the  men  of  that  day  have  acquired 
principles  ?  Was  it  the  old  regime  or  the  Terror  which  could 
have  instructed  them  ?  A  short  time  afterward,  the  Sover- 
eign Pontiff  came  to  Paris,  and,  among  the  reasons  which 
made  him  hesitate  to  crown  the  new  Charlemagne,  it  is  very 
doubtful  whether  this  one  was  ever  even  weighed  for  a  mo- 
ment. The  press  was  dumb,  and  men  must  be  possessed  of 
information  before  they  are  aroused  to  anger.  Let  us  hope 
that  civilization  has  now  made  so  much  progress  that  a 
repetition  of  similar  incidents  would  be  impossible.  We 
should,  however,  be  restrained  from  optimism  on  this  point 
by  the  remembrance  of  what  we  have  witnessed  in  our  own 
time. 

The  following  Memoirs  are  an  exact  record  of  the  life  of 
the  author,  and  the  history  of  the  early  years  of  the  present 
century.  They  show  us  what  changes  the  establishment  of 
the  Empire  effected  at  the  Court,  and  how  lif e  there  and  its 
relations  became  more  difficult  and  embarrassing;  how  by 
degrees  the  prestige  of  the  Emperor  declined,  in  proportion 
as  he  misused  his  great  gifts,  his  power,  and  his  chances. 
Mistakes,  reverses,  and  failures  were  multiplied ;  and  at  the 
same  time  the  adhesion  of  the  earliest  admirers  of  the  Em- 
peror became  less  fervent,  and  the  manner  of  serving  re- 
flected the  mode  of  thinking.  Two  parties,  the  Beauhar- 
nais  and  the  Bonapartes,  disputed  the  favor  of  the  sovereign 
master  with  each  other ;  and  M.  and  Mme.  de  Remusat  were 
regarded  as  belonging  to  the  former,  by  reason  of  their  natu- 


xxii  PREFACE. 

ral  feelings  and  their  family  relations.  Their  position  was 
consequently  affected  in  no  small  degree  by  the  downfall  and 
departure  of  the  Empress  Josephine.  Everything  was,  how- 
ever, much  changed,  and,  when  her  lady-in-waiting  followed 
her  into  her  retirement,  the  Emperor  seems  to  have  made 
but  little  effort  to  detain  Mme.  de  Remusat.  Perhaps  he 
was  glad  that  a  person  of  good  sense  and  quick  intelligence 
should  watch  over  his  forsaken  and  somewhat  imprudent 
wife ;  but  it  must  also  be  taken  into  account  that  my  grand- 
mother's delicate  health,  her  love  of  quiet,  and  her  distaste 
for  all  festivities,  had  isolated  her  almost  entirely  from  court 
life. 

Her  husband,  wearied  and  disgusted,  gave  way  every  day 
more  and  more  to  his  discontent,  and  to  his  inability  to  lay 
himself  out  to  please  the  great  personages  who  were  either 
cold  or  hostile  to  him.  He  neglected  his  functions  as  Cham- 
berlain in  order  to  concentrate  himself  on  his  duties  as  "  Ad- 
ministrator of  Theatres,"  but  the  latter  he  fulfilled  admirably. 
A  great  part  of  the  actual  organization  of  the  Theatre  Fran- 
$ais  is  due  to  him.  My  father,  born  in  1797,  and  very  young 
when  his  father  was  Chamberlain  to  the  Emperor,  was  re- 
markable as  a  child  for  his  intelligence  and  his  observation, 
and  he  retained  a  very  distinct  recollection  of  that  period  of 
discouragement  and  ennui.  He  has  told  me  that  he  frequent- 
ly knew  his  father  to  return  from  Saint  Cloud  utterly  worn 
out,  and  tried  beyond  his  patience  by  the  burden  which  the 
arbitrariness  and  the  ill  temper  of  the  Emperor  laid  upon  all 
who  approached  him.  That  the  child  was  an  eye-  and  ear- 
witness  of  his  complaints  at  those  moments  in  which  re- 
straints are  cast  off  is  evident,  for,  when  he  was  more  master 
of  himself,  he  was  fain  to  represent  himself  as  satisfied  with 
his  master  and  his  position,  and  he  endeavored  to  conceal  his 
vexations  from  his  son.  Perhaps  he  was  better  calculated  to 
serve  the  simple,  tranquil,  sober,  intellectual  Bonaparte,  while 
still  a  novice  in  the  pleasures  of  sovereignty,  than  the  llase 
and  intoxicated  Napoleon,  who  exhibited  the  worst  taste 


PREFACE. 

possible  on  all  State  occasions,  and  became  more  exacting 
every  day  in  the  matter  of  ceremonial  and  adulatory  observ- 
ance. 

An  apparently  trifling  circumstance,  whose  gravity  was 
not  at  first  perceived  by  those  whom  it  concerned,  increased 
the  difficulties  of  the  situation,  and  hurried  on  the  inevitable 
catastrophe.  Although  the  history  of  the  affair  is  insignifi- 
cant, it  will  not  be  read  without  interest,  and  it  sheds  a  light 
upon  times  now  happily  far  removed  from  us,  and  which 
Frenchmen,  if  the  lessons  of  the  past  are  to  avail,  will  not 
suffer  to  return. 

The  celebrated  Lavoisier  was  very  intimate  with  M.  de 
Yergennes.  He  died,  as  every  one  knows,  on  the  scaffold  on 
the  19th  Floreal,  year  2  (9th  May,  1794).  His  widow,  who 
contracted  a  second  marriage  with  M.  Rumford,  a  German 
savant,  or  at  least  a  commercial  man  aiming  at  science — for 
he  was  the  inventor  of  the  Prussian  stoves,  and  also  of  the 
thermometer  that  bears  his  name — remained  on  terms  of 
close  friendship  with  Madame  de  Yergennes  and  her  family. 
This  second  marriage  had  not  been  happy,  and  compassion 
was,  very  justly,  excited  on  behalf  of  the  ill-treated  wife,  who 
was  compelled  to  invoke  the  protection  of  the  law  against 
unendurable  tyranny  and  exaction.  As  M.  Rumford  was  a 
foreigner,  it  was  in  the  power  of  the  police  to  procure  infor- 
mation respecting  him  from  his  own  country,  to  reprimand 
him  severely,  and  even  to  oblige  him  to  leave  France.  This, 
I  believe,  was  eventually  done,  and  it  was  at  the  request  of 
my  grandmother  that  M.  de  Talleyrand  and  M.  Fouche  took 
up  the  matter.  Madame  Eumford  was  anxious  to  evince 
her  gratitude  to  those  personages,  and  the  following  is  my 
father's  account  of  the  results  of  her  wish : 

"My  mother  consented  to  invite  Madame  Rumford  to 
dinner,  to  meet  M.  de  Talleyrand  and  M.  Fouche.  Surely, 
it  was  not  an  act  of  opposition  to  entertain  the  High  Cham- 
berlain and  the  Minister  of  Police  at  her  table !  Neverthe- 
less, that  meeting — so  naturally  brought  about,  the  motive  of 


xxiv  PREFACE. 

which,  was  as  insignificant  as  it  was  harmless,  but  which  was, 
I  acknowledge,  unusual,  and  never  occurred  again — was  rep- 
resented to  the  Emperor,  in  the  reports  that  were  sent  out  to 
him  in  Spain,  as  a  political  conference,  and  the  proof  of  an 
important  coalition.  Although  I  do  not  contend  that  it  was 
impossible  for  M.  de  Talleyrand  and  M.  Fouche  to  have 
taken  advantage  of  the  opportunity  of  talking  together ;  or 
deny  that  my  mother,  perceiving  the  respective  inclinations 
of  the  two,  or  put  upon  the  scent  by  something  that  was  said 
by  M.  de  Talleyrand,  might  have  regarded  the  occasion  as  a 
favorable  one  for  bringing  about  an  interview  which  amused 
herself  at  the  same  time  that  it  was  useful  to  one  of  her 
friends,  I  have  not  the  slightest  reason  for  supposing  that 
such  was  the  case.  I  am,  on  the  contrary,  perfectly  certain 
of  having  heard  my  father  and  mother  quote  this  incident, 
when  reverting  to  it  some  years  afterward,  as  an  instance  of 
the  unexpected  importance  which  may  be  assumed  by  a  for- 
tuitous and  insignificant  matter,  and  say,  smilingly,  that  Ma- 
dame Rumford  little  knew  what  she  had  cost  them. 

"  They  added  that  on  that  occasion  the  word  i  triumvirate ' 
had  been  uttered,  and  my  mother  had  said,  laughingly,  4  My 
dear,  I  am  sorry  for  it ;  but  your  lot  could  only  be  that  of 
Lepidus.'  My  father  also  said  that  certain  persons  of  the 
Court,  not  enemies  of  his,  had  sometimes  spoken  of  '  the 
Conference '  to  him  as  a  fact,  and  had  said,  though  with- 
out any  hostile  intention,  £E"ow  that  it  is  all  over,  tell 
us  what  it  was  about,  and  what  it  was  you  really  meant 
to  do?'" 

This  narrative  gives  us  an  insight  into  the  life  of  Courts, 
and  also  testifies  to  the  intimacy  of  my  grandparents  with 
M.  de  Talleyrand.  Although  the  former  Bishop  of  Autun 
does  not  seem  to  have  been  actuated  in  this  particular  in- 
stance by  that  kind  of  feeling  which  he  habitually  carried 
into  his  relations  with  women,  he  both  liked  and  admired 
Mme.  de  Remusat.  I  have  found  amusing  evidence  of  his 
sentiments  in  a  sketch  of  her  which  he  wrote,  on  the  official 


PREFACE.  xxv 

paper  of  the  Senate,  during  the  leisure  time  of  a  sitting  at 
which  he  presided  as  "Vice-Grand  Elector,"  probably  in 
1811: 

"  CONSERVATIVE  SENATE,  ) 
"  LUXEMBOURG,  April  29th.  } 

"  I  have  a  fancy  for  commencing  the  portrait  of  Clari. 
She  is  not  what  the  world  calls  a  beauty,  but  every  one 
agrees  in  pronouncing  her  an  agreeable  woman.  She  is 
twenty-eight  or  twenty-nine  years  old,  and  she  is  neither 
more  nor  less  blooming  than  she  ought  to  be  at  twenty-eight. 
Her  figure  is  good,  her  carriage  is  graceful  and  unaffected. 
Clari  is  not  thin  ;  she  is  only  slight  and  refined.  Her  com- 
plexion is  not  brilliant,  but  she  has  the  special  charm  of  look- 
ing fairer  in  proportion  as  she  is  in  a  stronger  light.  To  de- 
scribe Clari  in  a  sentence,  let  me  say  that  the  better  she  is 
known  the  more  amiable  she  appears. 

"  Clari  has  large,  black  eyes ;  their  long  lids  give  an  ex- 
pression of  mingled  tenderness  and  vivacity  which  is  striking, 
even  when  her  mind  is  inactive  and  she  does  not  want  to 
express  anything.  Those  occasions  are,  however,  very  rare. 
Lively  ideas,  quick  perception,  a  vivid  imagination,  exquisite 
sensibility,  and  constant  kindness  are  expressed  in  her  glance. 
To  give  an  idea  of  that,  it  would  be  necessary  to  paint  the 
soul  which  depicts  itself  in  it,  and  then  Clari  would  be  the 
most  beautiful  of  beings.  I  am  not  sufficiently  well  versed 
in  the  rales  of  drawing  to  know  whether  Clari' s  features  are 
quite  regular.  I  believe  her  nose  is  too  thick ;  but  I  know 
that  she  has  beautiful  eyes,  lips,  and  teeth.  A  great  part  of 
her  forehead  is  generally  hidden  by  her  hair,  and  that  is  a 
pity.  Her  smile  is  rendered  as  arch  as  it  is  sweet  by  her  two 
dimples.  Her  dress  is  often  careless,  but  never  in  bad  taste, 
and  she  is  scrupulously  neat.  That  neatness  forms  part  of 
the  system  of  order  and  decorum  from  which  Clari  never 
deviates.  Clari  is  not  rich,  but  as  she  is  moderate  in  her 
tastes  and  above  caprice  and  fancy,  she  despises  extravagance, 
and  has  never  perceived  that  her  fortune  is  limited,  except 


xxvi  PREFACE. 

when  she  has  been  obliged  to  restrain  her  benevolence.  But, 
besides  the  art  of  giving,  she  has  a  thousand  other  ways  of 
conferring  kindnesses.  Always  ready  to  commend  good 
deeds  and  to  excuse  faults,  her  mind  is  always  bent  on 
beneficent  purposes.  Clari  affords  us  a  striking  proof  of 
how  much  superior  a  kindly  wit  is  to  talent  which  produces 
only  severity,  criticism,  and  satire.  She  is  more  ingenious 
in  her  manner  of  passing  favorable  judgments  than  ever  was 
malignity  in  the  art  of  suggesting  the  false  and  suppressing 
the  true. 

"  Clari  always  vindicates  those  whose  part  she  takes,  but 
without  offending  those  whom  she  confutes.  Clari  has  a 
large  and  cultivated  mind.  I  know  no  one  who  can  talk 
better  than  she ;  but  she  exhibits  her  superior  information 
only  when  she  is  giving  one  a  proof  of  her  confidence  and 
friendship.  Clari's  husband  knows  that  he  possesses  a  trea- 
sure, and  has  the  good  sense  to  appreciate  it.  Clari  is  a  good 
mother ;  that  is  her  reward." 

The  Emperor  was  displeased  at  the  intimacy  between  the 
Grand  Chamberlain  and  the  First  Chamberlain,  and  these 
Memoirs  will  show  that  he  tried  more  than  once  to  set  the 
two  at  variance.  He  even  succeeded  for  a  time  in  alienating 
them.  But  their  intimacy  was  unbroken  when  M.  Talley- 
rand fell  into  disgrace. 

It  is  well  known  that  honorable  motives  on  his  part  led 
to  a  violent  altercation  between  himself  and  his  imperial 
master  in  January,  1809,  at  the  period  of  the  Spanish  war, 
which  was  the  beginning  of  the  misfortunes  of  the  empire, 
and  the  result  of  the  Emperor's  errors.  Both  M.  de  Talley- 
rand and  M.  Fouche  predicted,  or  at  least  foreboded,  that 
public  disapprobation  and  suspicion  would  be  aroused. 
"Throughout  the  whole  empire,"  writes  M.  Thiers,*  "hate 
was  beginning  to  take  the  place  of  love."  This  change  was 
taking  place  among  officials  as  well  as  citizens.  Moreover, 
M.  de  Montesquiou,  a  member  of  the  Legislature,  who  suc- 
*  "Histoire  du  Consulat  et  de  1'Empire,"  vol.  xi.,  p.  312. 


PREFACE.  xxvii 

ceeded  M.  de  Talleyrand  in  his  place  at  court,  was  a  less 
important  personage  than  the  latter,  who  had  relegated  to 
the  First  Chamberlain  not  only  the  troublesome  portions  of 
the  duties  of  his  post,  but  also  those  which  were  agreeable, 
and  which  conferred  distinction.  It  was  a  "  come-down  "  to 
lose  a  chief  whose  own  importance  enhanced  that  of  the 
position  next  below  him.  Truly  this  was  a  strange  time ! 

Talleyrand,  though  in  disgrace  as  a  minister,  and  as  the 
holder  of  one  of  the  highest  posts  at  Court,  had  not  forfeited 
the  Emperor's  confidence.  The  latter  would  send  for  him 
every  now  and  then,  and  freely  disclose  the  secret  of  the 
question  or  the  circumstance  on  which  he  desired  his  advice. 
These  consultations  went  on  to  the  end,  even  at  those  times 
when  the  Emperor  was  talking  of  sending  M.  de  Talleyrand 
to  Yincennes.  In  return,  M.  de  Talleyrand  would  enter  into 
his  views,  and  advise  him  with  perfect  frankness ;  and  so 
this  strange  intercourse  was  carried  on  as  if  nothing  had 
happened  between  them. 

State  policy  and  the  greatness  of  his  own  position  afford- 
ed certain  privileges  and  consolations  to  M.  de  Talleyrand 
which  were  beyond  the  reach  of  a  chamberlain  or  a  lady-in- 
waiting.  Those  who  are  in  close  contact  with  absolute  power 
do  not  foresee  that  the  day  must  come  when  their  feelings 
will  clash  with  their  interests,  and  some  of  their  duties  with 
others.  They  forget  that  there  are  principles  of  government 
which  must  be  guarded  by  constitutional  guarantees.  They 
yield  to  the  natural  desire  to  be  "  somebodies  "  in  the  state, 
to  serve  the  established  authority;  they  do  not  study  the 
nature  and  conditions  of  that  authority.  So  long  as  it  exacts 
nothing  against  their  conscience,  they  serve  it  in  the  sphere 
to  which  it  has  appointed  them.  But  the  hour  comes  when, 
without  exacting  anything  new  from  them,  it  carries  extrava- 
gance, violence,  and  injustice  to  such  a  height  that  it  becomes 
hard  to  obey  it,  even  in  things  of  no  moment ;  they  remain, 
nevertheless,  bound  to  obedience,  while  in  their  inmost  soul 
they  are  full  of  indignation  and  of  pain.  Then  comes  actual 


xxviii  PREFACE. 

desire  for  its  fall.  It  may  be  said  that  their  course  is  simple ; 
let  them  resign.  But  they  are  afraid  of  giving  rise  to  rumor 
and  scandal,  of  being  neither  understood  nor  approved  by 
public  opinion.  Moreover,  no  contract  binds  the  servants  of 
the  state  to  the  conduct  of  the  chief  of  the  state.  Having 
no  rights,  they  would  seem  to  have  no  duties.  They  are 
powerless  for  prevention,  and  are,  therefore,  not  afraid  of 
having  to  expiate  errors.  Thus  people  thought  in  the  reign 
of  Louis  XIV.,  and  thus  they  still  think  in  a  great  part  of 
Europe ;  it  was  thus  they  thought  under  Napoleon,  and  per- 
haps they  will  be  of  the  same  opinion  again.  So  shameful 
and  wretched  a  thing  is  absolute  power !  It  paralyzes  both 
the  honest  scruples  and  the  real  duties  of  honest  men. 


IY. 

Traces  of  these  convictions,  or  at  least  of  their  germ,  may 
be  discerned  in  the  correspondence  of  M.  and  Madame  de 
Hemusat,  and  all  things  contributed  to  confirm  them.  Direct 
communication  with  the  Emperor  became  more  and  more 
infrequent,  and  his  charm  of  manner,  though  still  powerful, 
failed  to  weaken  the  impression  made  by  his  policy.  The 
divorce  of  the  Empress  restored  to  Madame  de  Remusat,  in 
great  part,  her  freedom  of  judgment  and  the  disposal  of  her 
time.  She  attached  herself  to  the  Empress  Josephine  in  her 
disgrace,  a  proceeding  not  calculated  to  raise  her  in  the  esti- 
mation of  the  Court.  Her  husband  soon  after  retired  from 
the  post  of  Keeper  of  the  "Wardrobe,  under  circumstances 
which  are  detailed  in  these  Memoirs,  and  the  coolness  in- 
creased. I  use  the  word  "  coolness "  advisedly,  because  in 
certain  pamphlets  written  against  my  father  it  was  alleged 
that  his  family  had  been  guilty  of  grave  offenses,  at  which 
the  Emperor  was  much  incensed.  That  this  was  quite 
untrue  is  amply  proved  by  the  fact  that  although  M.  de 
Ke'musat  resigned  the  post  of  Keeper  of  the  Wardrobe,  he 
continued  to  be  Chamberlain  and  Supervisor  of  Theatres. 


PREFACE.  xxix 

He  merely  gave  up  the  most  troublesome  and  most  onerous 
of  his  offices.  Xo  doubt  those  habits  of  intimacy  and  con- 
fidence which  arise  in  common  every-day  life  were  weak- 
ened by  his  relinquishment  of  that  post ;  but,  on  the  other 
hand,  he  gained  greater  freedom  and  more  frequent  inter- 
course, both  with  his  family  and  with  society,  and,  as  they 
were  no  longer  restricted  to  the  drawing-rooms  of  the  Tuile- 
ries  and  St.  Cloud,  both  husband  and  wife  were  enabled  to 
bring  more  clear-sightedness  and  independence  of  judgment 
to  bear  upon  the  policy  of  their  sovereign.  Before  the  final 
disasters,  aided  by  the  advice  and  predictions  of  M.  de  Tal- 
leyrand, they  foresaw  the  fall  of  the  Empire,  and  were  ena- 
bled to  choose  between  the  possible  solutions  of  the  problem 
then  in  course  of  working  out.  There  was  no  hope  that  the 
Emperor  would  be  satisfied  with  a  peace  more  humiliating  to 
himself  than  to  France,  and  indeed  Europe  was  no  longer  in 
the  humor  to  gratify  him  even  to  that  extent. 

The  public  mind  turned  naturally  toward  the  return  of 
the  Bourbons,  notwithstanding  certain  drawbacks,  which 
were  but  dimly  apprehended.  The  salons  of  Paris,  without 
being  actually  Royalist,  were  anti-revolutionary.  At  this 
epoch  the  plan  of  making  the  Bonapartes  heads  of  the  Con- 
servative and  Catholic  party  had  not  yet  been  invented. 
To  bring  back  the  Bourbons  was  a  very  momentous  reso- 
lution, and  it  was  not  adopted  without  struggles,  anx- 
ieties, and  apprehensions  of  all  sorts.  My  father  regarded 
the  painful  recollection  which  he  always  retained  of  the  at- 
titude of  his  family  in  1814 — a  family  so  simple,  so  honor- 
able, and  so  unpretending — as  a  useful  political  lesson,  one 
which  contributed,  as  much  as  his  own  reflections,  to  lead 
him  to  believe  that  simplicity  and  straightforwardness  are 
the  truest  policy.  He  records  in  the  following  words  his 
own  observations  on  the  state  of  feeling  that  prevailed  at 
the  fall  of  the  Empire  : 

"  Policy  alone  reconciled  my  family  to  the  Restoration. 
My  father  never  for  a  moment  regarded  his  own  acquiescence 


xxx  PREFACE. 

otherwise  than  as  an  absolute  necessity,  of  which  he  volun- 
tarily accepted  the  consequences.  It  would  have  been  foolish 
to  conceal  the  nature  of  those  consequences,  or  to  have  en- 
deavored to  avoid  them  altogether;  but  they  might  have 
been  more  firmly  resisted,  or  at  least  some  effort  might  have 
been  made  to  reduce  their  proportions.  My  mother,  as  a 
woman,  was  influenced  by  the  sentimental  aspect  of  Bour- 
bonism,  and  allowed  herself  to  be  carried  away  by  the  en- 
thusiasm of  the  moment.  In  every  great  political  movement 
there  is  a  fascination,  unless  one  is  preserved  from  it  by  party 
spirit ;  and  this  sympathy,  combined  with  the  national  taste 
for  declamation,  has  a  large  share  in  the  absurdities  which 
accompany  every  change  of  government.  My  mother  was, 
however,  disgusted  from  the  first  by  the  exaggeration  of  sen- 
timent, of  opinion,  and  of  ridiculous  language,  that  prevailed. 
The  humiliating  and  insolent  side  of  the  Restoration,  as  in- 
deed of  every  restoration,  is  what  shocks  me  the  most ;  but, 
if  the  Royalists  had  not  gone  too  far,  a  great  deal  would  have 
been  overlooked.  The  things  of  this  kind  which  sensible 
folk  will  endure  are  surprising.  I  still  feel  grateful  to  my 
father  because,  in  the  very  first  days  of  the  Monarchy,  he 
somewhat  sharply  rebuked  a  person  who  was  advocating  in 
our  salon  the  extreme  doctrines  of  Legitimacy.  Neverthe- 
less, we  had  to  accept  this  Legitimacy  under  a  more  politic 
form.  The  word  itself  was,  I  -believe,  sanctioned  by  M.  de 
Talleyrand,  and  thence  ensued  an  inevitable  train  of  conse- 
quences which  speedily  developed  themselves." 

This  is  not  merely  an  historical  judgment  of  my  father's ; 
at  that  time  he  was  beginning,  notwithstanding  his  youth, 
to  think  for  himself,  and  to  guide,  or  at  least  to  influence,  the 
political  opinions  of  his  parents.  As  I  shall  soon  be  in  a 
position  to  publish  the  reminiscences  of  his  youth,  I  will  not 
dwell  upon  them  here.  I  must,  however,  mention  him  in 
connection  with  the  memoirs  of  his  mother,  as  he  had  more 
to  do  with  them  than  might  be  supposed. 

I  have  not  hitherto  alluded  to  one  of  the  most  character- 


PREFACE. 

istic  traits  of  her  whose  life  I  have  undertaken  to  narrate. 
She  was  a  tender,  careful,  and  admirable  mother.  Her  son 
Charles,  born  on  the  24th  Yentose,  year  5  (March  14,  1797), 
cheered  her  from  his  childhood  with  the  hopes  which  he  af- 
terward realized,  and,  as  he  grew  in  years  and  intelligence, 
aroused  in  her  intellectual  tastes  similar  to  his  own.  Her 
second  son,  Albert,  was  born  five  years  later  than  Charles, 
and  died  in  1830.  His  faculties  were  never  completely  de- 
veloped ;  he  remained  a  child  until  the  end.  She  had  tender 
compassion  for  him,  and  lavished  upon  him  care  so  unceasing 
and  devoted  that  it  was  admirable  even  in  a  mother.  But 
her  great  love  was  for  her  first-born,  and  never  was  filial  or 
maternal  affection  founded  on  more  striking  resemblance  in 
mind  and  character.  Her  letters  are  full  of  her  maternal 
tenderness.  The  following  is  addressed  to  her  beloved  son, 
when  he  was  just  sixteen.  I  think  it  will  convey  a  favorable 
impression  of  both,  and  throw  a  light  on  the  history  of  their 
after  lives : 

VICHY,  July  25, 1813. 

"  I  have  been  suffering  from  a  severe  sore  throat  for  the 
last  few  days,  and  time  has  hung  heavily,  my  child ;  to-day 
I  feel  a  little  better,  and  I  am  going  to  amuse  myself  by 
writing  to  you.  Besides,  you  have  been  scolding  me  for  my 
silence,  and  reproaching  me  too  often  with  your  four  letters. 
I  will  no  longer  be  behindhand  with  you,  and  this  letter,  I 
think,  will  entitle  me  to  scold  you  in  my  turn,  if  an  oppor- 
tunity offers.  My  dear  boy,  I  follow  you  step  by  step  in  all 
your  studies,  and  I  see  you  are  full  of  work  during  this 
month  of  July,  which  I  am  passing  so  monotonously.  I 
know  pretty  well,  too,  all  you  say  and  do  on  Thursdays  and 
Sundays.  Madame  de  Grasse  *  tells  me  of  your  little  talks, 
and  amuses  me  with  it  all.  For  instance,  she  told  me  that 

*  Madame  de  Grasse  was  the  widow  of  an  emigre,  who  lived  in  my  grand- 
mother's house  and  was  very  intimate  with  her.  Her  son,  Count  Gustave  de 
Grasse,  was  a  lieutenant-colonel  in  the  Royal  Guard,  and  lived  on  terms  of  the 


xxxii  PREFACE. 

the  other  day  you  had  praised  me  to  her,  and  said  that  when 
you  and  I  talk  together  you  are  sometimes  tempted  to  think 
me  too  clever.  But  you  need  not  be  checked  by  any  fear  of 
that,  for  you,  my  dear  child,  have  at  least  as  much  wit  as  I. 
I  tell  you  so  frankly,  because  that  gift,  although  an  advan- 
tage, needs  many  other  things  to  support  it,  and  therefore 
you  may  take  my  words  rather  as  warning  than  as  praise. 
If  my  conversation  with  you  often  takes  a  serious  turn,  you 
must  impute  it  to  the  fact  that  I  am  your  mother,  and  have 
not  relinquished  that  rdle  •  to  my  discovery  of  some  wise 
thoughts  in  my  own  head,  and  wanting  to  put  them  into 
yours ;  and  to  my  desire  to  make  good  use  of  the  quickly 
passing  time  that  will  soon  bear  you  far  from  me.  When  I 
need  no  longer  advise  and  warn  you,  we  shall  talk  together 
quite  at  our  ease,  interchanging  our  reflections,  our  remarks, 
and  our  opinions  on  everything  and  everybody  quite  frankly, 
without  fear  of  vexing  one  another ;  in  fact,  with  all  that 
sincere  and  intimate  friendship  which,  I  believe,  may  per- 
fectly well  exist  between  a  mother  and  a  son.  There  are 
not  so  many  years  between  us  as  to  prevent  me  from  sym- 
pathizing with  your  youth,  or  sharing  some  of  your  feelings. 
Women's  shoulders  wear  young  heads  for  a  long  time,  and 
in  the  head  of  a  mother  one  side  is  always  just  the  same  age 
as  her  child's. 

"  Madame  de  Grasse  told  me  also  that  you  want  to  amuse 
yourself  during  these  holidays  by  writing  some  of  your  no- 
tions on  various  subjects.  I  think  you  are  right.  It  will  be 
interesting  for  you  to  read  them  again  in  a  few  years.  Your 
father  would  say  I  want  to  make  you  a  scribbler  like  myself 
— for  he  does  not  stand  on  ceremony  with  me — but  I  do  not 
care.  There  can  be  no  harm  in  setting  down  one's  thoughts 
in  writing  for  one's  self  alone,  and  I  think  both  taste  and 
style  may  be  formed  in  this  way.  It  is  just  because  your 
father  is  lazy,  and  only  writes  one  letter  a  week ;  true,  it  is 

closest  friendship  with  my  father  until  his  death  in  1859,  notwithstanding  the 
wide  dissimilarity  of  their  opinions  and  habits. 


PREFACE. 


XXXlll 


a  very  pleasant  one,  but  still  that  is  not  much.  .  .  .  But 
there  !  I  must  not  run  on  about  him. 

"  During  my  retirement  I  thought  I  should  like  to  draw 
your  portrait,  and  if  I  had  not  had  a  sore  throat,  I  would 
have  tried  to  do  so.  While  I  was  thinking  it  over,  I  found 
that  in  order  not  to  be  insipid,  and,  indeed,  to  be  correct,  I 
should  have  to  point  out  a  few  faults,  and  I  do  believe  the 
hard  words  have  stuck  in  my  throat  and  given  me  quinsy. 
While  planning  this  portrait,  I  assure  you  I  took  you  to 
pieces  very  carefully,  and  I  found  many  good  qualities  well 
developed,  a  few  just  beginning  to  bud,  and  then  some 
slight  congestions  which  hinder  certain  others  from  exhibit- 
ing themselves.  I  beg  your  pardon  for  using  a  medical  ex- 
pression ;  it  is  because  I  am  in  a  place  where  nothing  but 
congestions  and  the  way  to  get  rid  of  them  is  talked  about. 
I  will  explain  all  this  some  day  when  I  am  in  the  vein,  but 
to-day  I  will  touch  only  on  one  point — your  behavior  to 
others.  You  are  polite — more  so,  indeed,  than  is  customary 
at  your  age  :  you  have  a  pleasant  manner  in  addressing 
people,  and  you  are  a  good  listener.  Do  not  let  this  last  quali- 
ty slip.  Madame  de  Sevigne*  says  that  an  appreciative  silence 
is  a  mark  of  superior  sense  in  young  people.  <  But,  mother, 
what  are  you  driving  at  ?  You  promised  to  point  out  a  fault, 
and  hitherto  I  see  nothing  like  one.  A  father's  blow  turns 
aside.  Let  us  come  to  the  fact,  my  dear  mother.'  So  I  will, 
my  son,  in  one  moment ;  you  forget  that  I  have  a  sore  throat, 
and  can  only  speak  slowly.  Well,  then,  you  are  polite.  When 
you  are  asked  to  do  something  which  will  gratify  those  you 
love,  you  consent  willingly  ;  but,  when  an  opportunity  of  so 
doing  is  merely  pointed  out  to  you,  natural  indolence  and  a 
certain  love  of  self  make  you  hesitate  ;  and,  when  left  to 
yourself,  you  do  not  seek  such  opportunities,  for  fear  of  the 
trouble  they  might  entail.  Can  you  understand  these  subtile 
distinctions  ?  While  you  are  still  partly  under  my  authority, 
I  can  influence  and  guide  you :  but  you  will  soon  have  to 
answer  for  yourself,  and  I  should  wish  you  to  think  a  little 


xxxiv  PREFACE. 

about  other  people,  notwithstanding  the  claims  of  your  own 
youth,  which  are  naturally  engrossing.  I  am  not  sure  that 
I  have  expressed  myself  clearly.  As  my  ideas  have  to  find 
their  way  through  a  headache  and  all  my  bandages,  and  for 
the  last  four  days  I  have  not  sharpened  my  wits  by  contact 
with  those  of  Albert,  the  quinsy  may  possibly  have  got  into 
my  discourse. 

"  You  must  make  the  best  of  it.  At  any  rate,  it  is  a  fact 
that  you  have  polished  manners,  in  other  words,  you  are  kind. 
Kindness  is  the  politeness  of  the  heart.  But  enough. 

"  Your  little  brother  makes  a  good  figure  at  the  village 
dances.  He  has  become  quite  a  rustic.  In  the  morning  he 
fishes  and  takes  long  walks  about  the  country.  He  under- 
stands more  about  trees  and  agriculture  than  you  do.  In  the 
evening  he  shines  among  our  big  Auvergne  shepherdesses,  to 
whom  he  shows  off  all  those  little  airs  and  graces  which  you 
know  so  well. 

"  Adieu,  my  dear  son  ;  I  leave  off  because  I  have  come 
to  the  end  of  my  paper.  "Writing  all  this  to  you  relieves  me 
a  little  of  my  ennui,  but  I  must  not  quite  overwhelm  you  by 
pouring  out  too  much  at  a  time.  My  respects  to  Griffon, 
and  best  compliments  to  M.  Leclerc."  * 

In  this  confidential  strain  the  mother  and  the  son  carried 
on  their  correspondence.  One  year  later,  in  1814,  the  son 
left  school,  destined  to  fulfill  all  the  promise  of  his  childhood, 
and  to  hold  thenceforth  a  more  important  place  in  the  life 
and  occupations  of  his  parents.  His  influence  soon  began  to 
tell  on  theirs,  the  more  so  that  there  existed  no  absolute  di- 
vergence in  their  opinions.  But  he  was  more  positive  and 
bolder  than  his  parents,  because  he  was  not  fettered  by  the 
ties  of  old  memories  and  old  affection.  He  felt  no  regret  for 
the  Emperor,  and,  although  deeply  moved  by  the  sufferings 

*  Griffon  was  a  little  dog.  M.  Leclerc  was  a  member  of  the  Institute  and 
Dean  of  the  Faculty  of  Letters.  He  died  a  few  years  ago.  At  that  time  he  was 
a  professor  at  the  LycSe  Napoleon,  and  gave  lessons  to  my  father. 


PREFACE. 

of  the  French  army,  lie  witnessed  the  fall  of  the  Empire,  if 
not  with  joy,  at  least  with  indifference.  To  him,  as  to  most 
talented  young  men  of  his  time,  it  came  as  an  emancipation. 
He  eagerly  embraced  the  first  notions  of  constitutional  order, 
which  made  their  reappearance  with  the  Bourbons.  But  he 
was  struck  by  the  ridiculous  side  of  Royalist  society.  Many 
of  the  revived  fashions  and  phrases  *  seemed  to  him  to  be 
mere  foolery ;  he  was  disgusted  by  the  abuse  lavished  upon 
the  Emperor  and  the  men  of  the  Empire,  but  neither  his 
parents  nor  he,  although  still  a  little  suspicious  of  the  new 
order  of  things,  was  seriously  opposed  to  it.  Neither  the 
personal  vexations  which  resulted  from  it,  such  as  the  depri- 
vation of  employment,  the  necessity  of  selling  to  great  disad- 
vantage a  library  which  was  the  delight  of  my  grandfather, 
and  which  lives  in  the  recollection  of  lovers  of  books,  nor  a 
thousand  other  annoyances,  could  prevent  their  experiencing 
a  sense  of  relief.  They  almost  verified  a  celebrated  saying 
of  the  Emperor,  who,  when  at  the  zenith  of  his  power,  once 
asked  those  surrounding  him  what  would  be  said  after  his 
death.  They  all  hastened  to  answer  in  phrases  of  compli- 
ment or  of  flattery.  But  he  interrupted  them  by  exclaiming, 
"  "What !  you  are  at  a  loss  to  know  what  people  will  say  ? 
They  will  say  <Ouf !'" 

Y. 

It  was  difficult  to  attend  to  personal  interests  in  those 
days ;  one  could  hardly  help  being  diverted  from  them,  and 
engrossed  solely  by  the  spectacle  of  France  and  Europe. 
Curiosity  would  naturally  outweigh  ambition  in  a  family 
such  as  we  are  depicting.  My  grandfather  did  nevertheless 
think  of  entering  the  administration,  and  once  more  revived 
his  project,  hitherto  doomed  to  disappointment,  of  gaining 
admittance  to  the  Council  of  State;  but  he  was  as  supine 
about  it  as  before.  Had  he  entered  the  administration,  he 
would  only  have  been  following  the  example  of  the  majority 
*  For  a  note  by  Count  de  Remusat,  Bee  Appendix. 


xxxvi  PREFACE. 

of  the  former  officials  of  the  Empire,  for  the  Bonapartist  Op- 
position did  not  come  into  existence  until  the  latter  days  of 
the  Monarchy.  The  members  of  the  Imperial  family  lived 
in  constant  and  friendly  intercourse  with  the  new  regime,  or 
rather  the  reinstated  old  regime.  The  Empress  Josephine 
was  treated  with  great  respect,  and  the  Emperor  Alexander 
frequently  visited  her  at  Malmaison.  She  wished  to  take  up 
a  dignified  and  fitting  position,  and  she  confided  to  her  lady- 
in-waiting  that  she  thought  of  asking  the  title  of  High  Con- 
stable for  her  son  Eugene,  showing  thereby  that  she  scarcely 
understood  the  spirit  of  the  Restoration.  Queen  Hortense, 
who  afterward  became  the  bitter  enemy  of  the  Bourbons, 
and  was  concerned  in  numerous  conspiracies,  obtained  the 
Duchy  of  Saint  Leu,  for  which  she  intended  to  return  thanks 
in  person  to  Louis  XYIII.  All  projects  of  this  kind  had, 
however,  to  be  abandoned ;  for  the  Empress  Josephine  was 
suddenly  carried  off  by  malignant  sore  throat  in  March,  1814, 
and  the  last  link  that  bound  my  kinsfolk  to  the  Bonaparte 
family  was  sundered  for  ever. 

The  Bourbons  seemed  to  make  a  point  of  annoying  and 
depressing  those  very  persons  whom  their  Government 
should  have  endeavored  to  conciliate,  and  by  slow  degrees 
a  belief  gained  ground  that  their  reign  would  be  of  short 
duration,  and  that  France,  just  then  more  in  love  with  equal- 
ity than  with  liberty,  would  demand  to  be  placed  once  more 
under  the  yoke  which  had  seemed  to  be  shattered ;  in  fact, 
that  the  days  of  Imperial  splendor  and  misery  would  return. 
It  was,  therefore,  with  less  amazement  than  might  be  sup- 
posed that  my  grandfather  learned  one  day  from  a  friend 
that  the  Emperor  had  escaped  from  Elba  and  landed  at 
Cannes.  Historical  events  seem  more  astounding  to  those 
who  read  of  them  than  to  eye-witnesses.  Those  who  knew 
Bonaparte  could  readily  believe  him  capable  of  again  putting 
France  and  Frenchmen  in  peril  for  the  sake  of  a  selfish 
scheme.  His  return  was,  however,  a  tremendous  event,  and 
every  one  had  to  think  not  only  of  the  political  future,  but 


PREFACE. 


xxx  vii 


also  of  his  own.  Even  those  who,  like  M.  de  Remusat,  had 
not  publicly  taken  any  political  side,  and  who  only  wanted 
to  be  left  in  repose  and  obscurity,  had  everything  to  lose, 
and  were  bound  to  provide  against  eventualities.  The  gen- 
eral suspense  did  not  last  long ;  even  before  the  Emperor's 
entry  into  Paris,  M.  Real  came  to  announce  to  M.  de  Remu- 
sat  that  he  was  sentenced  to  exile  together  with  twelve  or  fif- 
teen others,  among  whom  was  M.  Pasquier. 

An  event  still  more  serious  than  exile,  and  which  left  a 
deeper  trace  in  my  father's  memory,  occurred  between  the 
first  news  of  the  return  of  Napoleon  and  his  arrival  at  the 
Tuileries.  On  the  day  after  that  on  which  the  landing  was 
publicly  announced,  Mme.  de  Nansouty  hurried  to  her  sister's 
house,  full  of  dismay  at  all  that  she  had  been  told  of  the  per- 
secution to  which  the  opponents  of  the  vindictive  and  all- 
powerful  Emperor  were  about  to  be  exposed.  She  told  my 
grandparents  that  a  rigorous  inquisition  by  the  police  was 
to  be  put  in  action ;  that  M.  Pasquier  apprehended  molesta- 
tion, and  that  everything  in  the  house  which  could  give  rise 
to  suspicion  must  be  got  rid  of.  My  grandmother,  who 
might  not  otherwise  have  thought  of  danger,  remembered 
with  alarm  that  a  manuscript  highly  calculated  to  com- 
promise her  husband,  her  sister,  her  brother-in-law,  and  her 
friends,  was  in  the  house.  For  many  years,  probably  from 
her  first  appearance  at  Court,  she  had  been  in  the  habit 
of  taking  notes  daily  of  the  events  and  conversations  which 
came  under  her  notice,  while  her  memory  of  them  was  fresh. 
She  had  recorded  nearly  everything  she  saw  and  heard,  at 
Paris,  at  St.  Cloud,  and  at  Malmaison.  For  twelve  years  she 
had  transferred,  not  only  events  and  circumstances,  but 
studies  of  character  and  disposition,  to  the  pages  of  her  jour- 
nal. This  journal  was  kept  in  the  form  of  a  correspondence. 
It  consisted  of  a  series  of  letters,  written  from  Court  to  a 
friend  from  whom  nothing  was  concealed.  The  author  well 
knew  all  the  value  of  these  fictitious  letters,  which  recalled 
her  whole  life,  with  its  most  precious  and  most  painful 


xxxviii  PREFACE. 

recollections.  Ought  she  to  risk,  for  what  would  appear  to 
others  only  literary  or  sentimental  selfishness,  the  peace,  the 
liberty,  nay,  even  the  life  of  those  she  loved  ?  No  one  was 
aware  of  the  existence  of  this  manuscript,  except  her  hus- 
band and  Mme.  Cheron,  the  wife  of  the  Prefect  of  that 
name,  a  very  old  and  attached  friend.  Her  thoughts  turned 
to  this  lady,  who  had  once  before  taken  charge  of  the  dan- 
gerous manuscript,  and  she  hastened  to  seek  her.  Unfor- 
tunately Mme.  Che'ron  was  from  home,  and  not  likely  to 
return  for  a  considerable  time.  What  was  to  be  done  ?  My 
grandmother  came  back,  greatly  distressed,  and,  without 
further  reflection  or  delay,  threw  her  manuscripts  into  the 
fire.  My  father  came  into  the  room  just  as  she  was  burn- 
ing the  last  sheets,  somewhat  cautiously,  lest  the  flame  should 
reach  too  high.  He  was  then  seventeen,  and  has  often  de- 
scribed the  scene  to  me — the  remembrance  of  it  was  most 
painful  to  him.  He  thought  at  first  .that  his  mother  was 
merely  destroying  a  copy  of  the  memoirs,  which  he  had 
never  read,  and  that  the  precious  original  manuscript  was 
safely  concealed.  He  threw  the  last  sheets  into  the  fire  with 
his  own  hand,  attaching  but  little  importance  to  the  action. 
"  Few  deeds,"  he  used  to  say,  "  after  I  learned  all  the  truth, 
have  I  ever  so  bitterly  regretted." 

From  the  very  first,  the  author  and  her  son  so  deeply 
lamented  what  they  had  done — for  they  learned  almost  im- 
mediately that  the  sacrifice  was  uncalled  for — that  for  years 
they  could  not  speak  of  it  between  themselves  or  to  my 
grandfather.  The  latter  bore  his  exile  with  much  philosophy. 
He  was  not  forbidden  to  dwell  in  France,  but  only  in  Paris 
and  its  neighborhood,  and  it  was  decided  that  they  should  all 
await  the  passing  of  the  storm  in  Languedoc,  where  he  pos- 
sessed an  estate  which  he  had  bought  back  from  the  heirs  of 
M.  de  Bastard,  his  wife's  grandfather,  and  which  had  long 
been  neglected.  The  family  removed,  therefore,  to  Laffitte, 
where  my  father  afterward  passed  so  many  years,  now  in  the 
midst  of  political  agitation,  again  in  quiet  study.  In  after 


PREFACE. 

days  he  again  came  thither  from  exile  ;  for  the  sufferings  of 
good  citizens  from  absolute  power  were  not  to  be  restricted 
to  the  year  1815,  and  Napoleons  have  returned  to  France 
from  a  greater  distance  than  the  Isle  of  Elba. 

My  grandfather  started  for  Laffitte  on  March  13th,  and 
his  family  joined  him  there  a  few  days  afterward.  At  Laf- 
fitte they  passed  the  three  months  of  that  reign,  shorter  but 
still  more  fatal  than  the  first,  which  has  been  called  "  The 
Hundred  Days."  There  my  father  entered  upon  his  literary 
career,  not  as  yet  producing  original  works,  but  translating 
Pope,  Cicero,  and  Tacitus.  His  only  original  writings  were 
his  songs.  The  family  lived  quietly,  unitedly,  and  almost 
happily,  waiting  the  end  of  a  tragedy  of  which  they  foresaw 
the  denoument,  and  at  Laffitte  they  received  the  news  of 
Waterloo.  They  heard  at  the  same  time  of  the  abdication  of 
Napoleon,  and  that  M.  de  Eemusat  was  appointed  Prefect 
of  Haute-Garonne,  by  a  decree  of  July  12,  1815.  This  ap- 
pointment was  quite  to  the  taste  of  my  grandfather,  for  it 
placed  him  once  more  in  office,  without  involving  him  in  the 
parade  of  a  court ;  but  it  was  less  pleasing  to  his  wife,  who 
regretted  Paris  and  her  old  friends  there,  and  who  dreaded 
the  disturbances  at  Toulouse,  at  that  time  a  prey  to  the  vio- 
lence of  southern  Eoyalism — "  the  White  Terror,"  as  it  was 
then  called. 

The  new  Prefect  immediately  set  out  for  Toulouse,  and 
was  greeted  on  his  arrival  with  the  news  that  General  Kamel, 
notwithstanding  that  he  had  hoisted  the  white  flag  on  the 
Capitol,  had  been  assassinated.  Such  are  the  injustice  and 
violence  of  party  spirit,  even  when  victorious;  nay,  espe- 
cially when  victorious ! 

But,  however  interesting  this  episode  of  our  national 
troubles  may  be,  it  is  not  necessary  to  dwell  on  them  here. 
The  principal  personage  in  these  Memoirs  is  not  the  Prefect, 
but  Mme.  de  Remusat.  My  grandmother,  anxious  about 
the  course  of  events,  and  perhaps  afraid  of  the  vehemence 
of  her  son's  opinions,  which  were  little  suited  to  his  father's 


xl  PREFACE. 

official  position,  sent  him  back  to  Paris,  to  his  great  satis- 
faction. 

Then  ensued  a  correspondence  between  them  which  will 
make  both  of  them  known  to  us,  and  will  perhaps  depict  the 
writer  of  these  Memoirs  more  clearly  than  do  the  Memoirs 
themselves. 

As,  however,  the  latter  work  only  is  in  question  at  pres- 
ent, it  is  not  necessary  to  give  in  detail  the  history  of  the 
period  subsequent  to  1815.  The  administration  of  the  de- 
partment, which  commenced  under  such  gloomy  auspices, 
was,  for  a  period  of  nineteen  months,  extremely  difficult. 
While  the  son,  mixing  in  very  Liberal  society  in  Paris, 
adopted  the  opinions  of  advanced  constitutional  Royalism, 
which  did  little  more  than  tolerate  the  Bourbons,  the  father, 
amid  totally  different  surroundings,  underwent  a  similar  men- 
tal process,  and  placed  himself  by  word  and  deed  in  the  front 
rank  of  those  officials  of  the  King's  Government  who  were 
the  least  Eoyalist  and  the  most  Liberal.  He  was  a  just  and 
moderate  man,  a  lover  of  law,  neither  an  aristocrat  nor  a 
bigot.  The  people  of  Toulouse  were  all  that  he  was  not ; 
nevertheless  he  was  successful  there,  and  left  behind  him  a 
kindly  memory,  which  lapsed  as  the  men  of  his  time  disap- 
peared, but  of  which  my  father  has  more  than  once  found 
traces.  These  early  days  of  constitutional  liberty,  even  in  a 
province  which  did  not  afterward  put  its  theories  boldly  in 
practice,  are  curious  to  contemplate. 

The  light  of  that  liberty  illumined  all  that  the  Empire 
had  left  in  darkness.  Opinions,  ideas,  hatred,  passions,  came 
to  life.  The  Government  of  the  Bourbons  was  represented 
by  a  married  priest,  M.  de  Talleyrand,  and  a  regicide  Jaco- 
bin, M.  Fouche ;  but  even  they  could  not  oppose  the  reac- 
tionary tendency  of  the  time,  and  the  Liberal  policy  did  not 
triumph  until  the  accession  of  MM.  Decazes,  Pasquier,  Mole, 
and  Koyer-Collard  to  the  ministry,  and  the  passing  of  the 
famous  decree  of  the  5th  of  September.  The  new  policy 
was  of  course  advantageous  to  those  who  had  practiced  it  be- 


PREFACE.  xli 

forehand,  and  there  could  be  no  ill  will  toward  the  Prefect 
on  account  of  the  failure  of  the  Liberal  party  in  the  elec- 
tions of  Haute-Garonne.  So  soon  as  the  ministry  was  firm- 
ly established,  and  as  M.  Laine  had  succeeded  M.  de  Yau- 
blanc,  my  grandfather  was  appointed  Prefect  of  Lille.  My 
father  records  in  a  letter  already  quoted  the  effect  of  these 
events  on  the  mind  of  Mme.  de  Remusat : 

"  The  nomination  of  my  father  to  Lille  brought  my  mo- 
ther back  into  the  midst  of  the  great  stir  of  public  opinion, 
which  was  soon  to  declare  itself  as  it  had  not  done  since  1789. 
Her  intelligence,  her  reason,  all  her  feelings  and  all  her  con- 
victions, were  about  to  make  a  great  step  in  advance.  The 
Empire,  after  awakening  her  interest  in  public  affairs  and 
enabling  her  to  understand  them,  subsequently  directed  her 
mind  toward  a  high  moral  aim,  by  inspiring  her  with  a  hor- 
ror of  tyranny.  Hence  came  her  desire  for  a  government 
of  order,  founded  on  law,  reason,  and  the  spirit  of  the  na- 
tion ;  hence  a  certain  leaning  toward  the  forms  of  the  Eng- 
lish constitution.  Her  stay  at  Toulouse  and  the  reaction  of 
1815  gave  her  such  a  knowledge  of  social  realities  as  nhe 
could  never  have  acquired  in  the  salwis  of  Paris,  enlighten- 
ing her  as  to  the  results  and  the  causes  of  the  Revolution, 
and  the  needs  and  sentiments  of  the  nation.  She  under- 
stood, in  a  general  way,  on  which  side  lay  true  help,  strength, 
life,  and  right.  She  learned  that  a  new  France  had  been 
called  into  existence,  and  what  it  was,  and  that  it  was  for 
and  by  this  new  France  that  government  must  be  carried 


YI. 

My  grandmother's  stay  at  Lille  was  occasionally  varied 
by  visits  to  her  son  in  Paris.  The  pleasures  of  society  were 
but  a  prelude  to  the  literary  success  that  he  achieved  a  few 
months  later  ;  and  indeed  he  was  already  practicing  compo- 
sition in  his  frequent  letters  to  his  mother  on  politics  and 
literature.  Mme.  de  Remusat  had  more  leisure  at  Lille  than 


xlii  PREFACE. 

in  Paris,  and,  although  her  health  was  still  delicate,  she  in- 
dulged her  taste  for  intellectual  pursuits.  Hitherto  she  had 
written  nothing  but  the  Memoirs  that  she  had  afterward  de- 
stroyed, and  a  few  short  tales  and  essays.  In  the  leisure  of 
a  country  life  she  now  attempted  a  romance  in  the  form 
of  letters,  called  "  Les  Lettres  Espagnols,  ou  PAmbitieux." 
While  she  was  working  at  this  with  ardor  and  success,  the 
posthumous  work  of  Mme.  de  Stael,  "  Considerations  sur  la 
Revolution  Franchise,"  came  out  in  1818,  and  made  a  great 
impression  on  her.  !N"ow  that  sixty  years  have  elapsed,  it  is 
difficult  for  us  to  realize  the  extraordinary  effect  of  Mme.  de 
Stael's  eloquent  dissertation  on  the  principles  of  the  Revolu- 
tion. The  opinions  of  the  author,  then  quite  novel,  are  now 
merely  noble  truisms  obvious  to  all.  But  in  the  days  that 
immediately  followed  the  Empire  they  were  something  more. 
Everything  was  then  new,  and  the  younger  generation,  wno 
had  undergone  twenty  years  of  tyranny,  had  to  learn  over 
again  that  which  their  fathers  had  known  so  well  in  1T89. 

My  grandmother  was  especially  struck  by  the  eloquent 
pages  in  which  the  author  gives  somewhat  declamatory  ex- 
pression to  her  hatred  of  Napoleon.  Mme.  de  Remusat  felt 
a  certain  sympathy  with  the  author's  sentiments,  but  she 
could  not  forget  that  at  one  time  she  had  thought  differently. 
People  who  are  fond  of  writing  are  easily  tempted  into  ex- 
plaining their  conduct  and  feelings  on  paper.  She  conceived 
a  strong  desire  to  arrange  all  her  reminiscences,  to  describe 
the  Empire  as  she  had  seen  it,  and  how  she  had  at  first  loved 
and  admired,  next  condemned  and  dreaded,  afterward  sus- 
pected and  hated,  and  finally  renounced  it.  The  Memoirs 
she  had  destroyed  in  1815  would  have  been  the  most  accu- 
rate exposition  of  this  succession  of  events,  situations,  and 
feelings.  It  was  vain  to  think  of  rewriting  them,  but  it 
was  possible,  with  the  help  of  a  good  memory  and  an  up- 
right intention,  to  compose  others  which  should  be  equally 
sincere.  Full  of  this  project,  she  wrote  to  her  son  (May  27, 
1818) : 


PREFACE. 

"  I  have  taken  up  a  new  notion.  You  must  know  that  I 
wake  every  morning  at  six  o'clock,  and  that  I  write  regularly 
from  that  hour  until  half -past  nine.  Well,  I  was  sitting  up 
with  the  manuscript  of  my  c  Lettres  Espagnols '  all  scattered 
about  me,  when  certain  chapters  of  Mme.  de  StaeTs  book 
came  into  my  head.  I  flung  my  romance  aside,  and  took  up 
a  clean  sheet  of  paper,  bitten  with  the  idea  that  I  must  write 
about  Bonaparte.  On  I  went,  describing  the  death  of  the 
Duke  d'Enghien  and  that  dreadful  week  I  spent  at  Malmai- 
son ;  and,  as  I  am  an  emotional  person,  I  seemed  to  be  living 
all  through  that  time  over  again.  Words  and  events  came 
back  of  themselves;  between  yesterday  and  to-day  I  have 
written  twenty  pages,  and  am  somewhat  agitated  in  conse- 
quence." 

The  same  circumstance  which  reawakened  the  recollec- 
tions of  the  mother  aroused  the  literary  tastes  of  the  son ; 
and  while  he  was  publishing  an  article  on  Mme.  de  Stae'l  in 
the  "  Archives,"  *  his  first  appearance  in  print,  he  wrote  as 
follows  to  his  mother  on  the  same  date,  May  27, 1818.  Their 
respective  letters  crossed  on  the  road : 

" c  All  honor  to  the  sincere ! '  This  book,  my  dear  mother, 
has  renewed  my  regret  that  you  have  burned  your  Memoirs, 
and  has  made  me  most  anxious  that  you  should  retrieve  that 
loss.  You  really  owe  this  to  yourself,  to  us,  to  the  interests 
of  truth.  Eead  up  the  old  almanacs ;  study  the  '  Moniteur ' 
page  by  page ;  get  back  your  old  letters  from  your  friends, 
and  go  over  them,  especially  those  to  my  father.  Try  to 
remember  not  only  the  details  of  events,  but  your  own  im- 
pressions of  them.  Try  to  resuscitate  the  views  you  formerly 
held,  even  the  illusions  you  have  lost ;  recall  your  very  er- 
rors. Show  how  you,  with  many  other  honorable  and  sensi- 
ble people,  indignant  and  disgusted  with  the  horrors  of  the 

*  "Archives  Philosophiques,  Politiques  et  Litte>aires,"  rol.  v.,  Paris,  1818. 
My  father  reprinted  this  article  in  the  collection  entitled  "  Critiques  et  Etudes 
Litteraires,  ou  Passe"  et  Present,"  par  Ch.  de  Rerausat.  2  vols.,  12rno.  Paris, 
1857. 


xliv  PREFACE. 

Eevolution,  were  carried  away  by  natural  aversions,  and  be- 
guiled by  enthusiasm  for  one  man,  which  was  in  reality  high- 
ly patriotic.  Explain  how  we  had  all  of  us  become,  as  it 
were,  strangers  to  political  life.  We  had  no  dread  of  the 
empire  of  an  individual;  we  went  out  to  meet  it.  Then 
show  how  this  man  either  became  corrupt,  or  else  displayed 
his  true  character  as  his  power  increased.  Tell  how  it  un- 
fortunately happened  that,  as  you  lost  one  by  one  your  illu- 
sions concerning  him,  you  became  more  and  more  dependent, 
and  how  the  less  you  submitted  to  him  in  heart,  the  more 
you  were  obliged  to  obey  him  in  fact ;  how  at  last,  after  hav- 
ing believed  in  the  uprightness  of  his  policy  because  you 
were  mistaken  in  himself,  your  discovery  of  his  true  charac- 
ter led  you  to  a  correct  view  of  his  system ;  and  how  moral 
indignation  finally  brought  you  by  degrees  to  what  I  may 
call  a  political  hatred  of  him.  This,  my  dear  mother,  is 
what  I  entreat  of  you  to  do.  You  see  what  I  mean,  do  you 
not  ?  and  you  will  do  it." 

Two  days  after,  on  the  30th  of  May,  my  grandmother  re- 
plied as  follows : 

"  Is  it  not  wonderful  how  perfectly  we  understand  each 
other  ?  I  am  reading  the  book,  and  I  am  as  much  struck  by 
it  as  you  are.  I  regret  my  poor  Memoirs  for  new  reasons, 
and  I  take  up  my  pen  again  without  quite  knowing  whither 
it  will  lead  me ;  for,  my  dear  child,  this  task  which  you  have 
set  me,  and  which  of  itself  is  tempting,  is  also  formidable. 
I  shall,  however,  set  about  reviving  my  impressions  of  cer- 
tain epochs,  at  first  without  order  or  sequence,  just  as  things 
come  back  to  me.  You  may  trust  me  to  set  down  the  very 
truth.  Yesterday,  when  I  was  alone  and  at  my  desk,  I  was 
trying  to  recall  my  first  meeting  with  this  wretched  man. 
A  tide  of  remembrance  rushed  over  me,  and  that  which  you 
so  justly  call  my  political  hatred  was  ready  to  fade  away  and 
give  place  to  my  former  illusions." 

A  few  days  later,  on  the  8th  of  June,  1818,  she  dwells 
on  the  difficulties  of  her  task : 


PREFACE. 

"  Do  you  know  that  I  need  all  my  courage  to  do  as  you 
tell  me  ?  I  am  like  a  person  who,  having  spent  ten  years  at 
the  galleys,  is  asked  to  write  an  account  of  how  he  passed  his 
time.  My  heart  sinks  when  I  recall  old  memories.  There  is 
pain  both  in  my  past  fancies  and  in  my  present  feelings.  You 
are  right  in  saying  I  love  truth  ;  but  it  follows  that  I  can  not, 
like  so  many  others,  recall  the  past  with  impunity,  and  I  assure 
you  that,  for  the  last  week,  I  have  risen  quite  saddened  from 
the  desk  at  which  you  and  Mme.  de  Stael  have  placed  me.  I 
could  not  reveal  these  feelings  to  any  one  but  you.  Others 
would  not  understand,  and  would  only  laugh  at  me." 

On  the  28th  of  September  and  the  8th  of  October  of  the 
same  year,  she  writes  to  her  son : 

"  If  I  were  a  man,  I  should  certainly  devote  a  part  of 
my  life  to  studying  the  League;  being  only  a  woman,  I 
confine  myself  to  verbal  utterances  about  you  know  whom. 
What  a  man  !  what  a  man !  It  terrifies  me  to  retrace  it 
all.  It  was  my  misfortune  to  be  very  young  when  I  was 
placed  near  him;  I  did  not  reflect  on  what  passed  before 
me ;  but  now  that  wre  are  both  older,  I  and  the  generation 
to  which  I  belong,  my  memories  move  me  more  than  did 
events  at  that  time.  If  you  come  ...  I  think  you  will 
find  that  I  have  not  lost  much  time  this  summer.  I  have 
already  written  nearly  five  hundred  pages,  and  I  am  going 
to  write  much  more ;  the  task  lengthens  as  I  work  at  it. 
Afterward  much  time  and  patience  will  be  required  to  put 
all  this  material  in  order.  Perhaps  I  shall  never  have  either 
one  or  the  other ;  if  so,  that  will  be  your  business  when  I 
shall  be  no  longer  here." 

"  Your  father,"  she  writes  again,  "  says  that  he  does  not 
know  of  any  one  to  whom  I  could  show  what  I  am  writing. 
He  declares  that  no  one  excels  me  in  '  the  talent  for  being 
true '  as  he  expresses  it.  So,  therefore,  I  write  for  nobody 
in  particular.  Some  day  you  will  find  my  manuscripts  among 
my  effects,  and  you  can  do  what  you  like  with  them." 

On  the  8th  of  October,  1818,  she  writes :  « There  is  a 


xlvi  PREFACE. 

thought  that  sometimes  troubles  me.  I  say  to  myself,  <  Sup- 
pose some  day  my  son  publishes  this,  what  will  be  said  of 
me  ? '  Then  the  fear  seizes  me  that  I  shall  be  held  to  have 
been  malicious,  or  at  least  ill-natured,  and  I  rack  my  brain 
for  something  to  praise.  But  this  man  (Bonaparte)  was  such 
a  ruthless  destroyer  of  all  worth  and  we  were  brought  so 
low  that  I  am  straitened  by  the  demands  of  truth,  and  I 
grow  quite  disheartened." 

These  fragments  of  her  letters  indicate  the  spirit  in  which 
the  Memoirs  of  Mme.  de  Remusat  were  written ;  and  it  was 
not  that  of  a  literary  pastime,  nor  a  pleasure  of  the  imagina- 
tion. Her  motive  was  neither  ambition  to  be  an  author,  nor 
the  desire  to  put  forward  an  apology.  The  love  of  truth, 
the  political  spectacle  before  her  eyes,  and  the  influence  of  a 
son  who  became  day  by  day  more  strongly  confirmed  in  those 
Liberal  opinions  which  were  destined  to  be  the  delight  and 
the  honor  of  his  life — these  things  gave  her  courage  to  per- 
severe in  her  task  for  more  than  two  years.  She  understood 
that  noble  policy  which  places  the  rights  of  man  above  the 
rights  of  the  State.  Nor  was  this  all.  As  often  happens  to 
persons  deeply  engaged  in  intellectual  work,  her  task  became 
plain  and  easy,  and  she  led  a  more  active  life  than  at  any 
previous  time.  In  spite  of  failing  health,  she  constantly 
traveled  from  Lille  to  Paris ;  she  acted  the  part  of  Elmire  in 
"  Tartuffe  "  at  M.  Mole's  house  at  Champldtreux ;  she  com- 
menced a  work  on  the  Women  of  the  Seventeenth  Century, 
which  she  afterward  expanded  into  her  "  Essai  sur  1'Educa- 
tion  des  Femmes " ;  she  supplied  Dupuytren  with  material 
for  a  panegyric  on  Corvisart,  and  she  even  published  a  tale 
in  the  "  Lycee  Fran^ais."  * 

In  the  midst  of  the  happiness  which  she  derived  from 
her  quiet  life  and  her  busy  mind,  from  her  husband's  official 
and  her  son's  literary  success,  her  health  failed.  First  came 
a  weakness  of  the  eyes,  which,  without  actually  threatening 

*  "  Lyc6e  Frai^ais,  on  Melange  de  Litte'rature  ct  de  Critique,"  t.  iii.,  p.  281 
(1820).   ' 


PREFACE.  Xlvii 

her  sight,  occasioned  her  both  pain  and  inconvenience  ;  then 
followed  a  general  delicacy  of  the  system,  in  which  the 
stomach  was  chiefly  affected.  After  alternate  changes  for 
the  better  and  the  worse,  her  son  brought  her  to  Paris  on 
the  28th  of  November,  1821,  in  a  suffering  condition,  which 
was  alarming  to  those  who  loved  her,  but  did  not  appear  to 
the  doctors  to  indicate  immediate  danger.  Broussais,  how- 
ever, took  a  desponding  view  of  her  case,  and  my  father  was 
then  first  struck  by  the  power  of  induction  to  which  the 
discoveries  and  the  errors  of  that  eminent  man  are  alike  due. 
Notwithstanding  her  illness,  she  occupied  herself  on  her  re- 
turn to  Lille  with  literary  and  historical  work,  and  received 
company,  including  a  great  number  of  political  personages. 
She  was  still  able  to  feel  interested  in  the  fall  of  the  Duke 
Decazes,  and  she  foresaw  that  the  coming  into  power  of  M. 
de  Villele — that  is  to  say,  of  the  ultras  or  reactionaries,  as 
they  are  now  called — would  render  it  impossible  for  her 
husband  to  retain  the  Prefecture  of  Lille ;  and,  in  fact,  he 
was  superseded  on  the  9th  of  January,  1822.  Before  this 
occurred,  Mme.  de  Kemusat  was  no  more.  She  expired  sud- 
denly in  the  night,  December  16, 1821,  aged  forty-one  years. 
She  bequeathed  to  her  son  a  lifelong  sorrow,  and  to  her 
friends  the  memory  of  a  remarkable  and  charming  woman. 
Not  one  of  those  friends  is  now  living;  M.  Pasquier,  M. 
Mole,  M.  Guizot,  and  M.  Leclerc  have  recently  passed  away. 
I  render  her  memory  the  truest  homage  in  my  power  by  the 
publication  of  these  unfinished  Memoirs,  which,  with  the 
exception  of  a  few  chapters,  she  was  unable  to  read  over  or 
correct.  The  work  was  to  have  been  divided  into  five  parts, 
corresponding  with  five  distinct  epochs.  She  completed  only 
three,  which-  treat  of  the  interval  between  1802  and  1808 ; 
that  is  to  say,  from  her  first  appearance  at  Court  to  the 
breaking  out  of  the  war  in  Spain.  The  unwritten  portions 
would  have  described  the  period  that  elapsed  between  that 
war  and  the  divorce  (1808-1809),  and  the  five  following 
years,  ending  with  the  fall  of  the  Emperor.  I  am  well 


xlviii  PREFACE. 

aware  that  a  work  of  the  nature  of  this  one  is  calculated  to 
bring  down  upon  both  its  author  and  its  editor  much  blame, 
many  insinuations,  and  a  great  deal  of  political  animosity. 
Its  apparent  contradictions  will  be  held  up  to  observation, 
rather  than  the  interesting  analogy  of  the  opinions  of  three 
generations  which  it  sets  forth,  and  the  difference  in  the 
times.  It  will  be  a  theme  for  wonder  that  any  man  could 
be  a  chamberlain  and  any  woman  a  lady-in-waiting,  and  yet 
that  both  could  be  so  far  from  servile,  so  liberal,  so  little 
shocked  by  the  18th  Brumaire,  so  patriotic,  so  much  fasci- 
nated by  that  man  of  genius,  Bonaparte,  and  so  severe  upon 
his  faults,  so  clear-sighted  respecting  the  majority  of  the 
members  of  the  Imperial  family,  so  indulgent  or  so  blind 
with  regard  to  others  who  have  left  an  equally  fatal  impress 
on  our  national  history.  It  will,  however,  be  difficult  to 
avoid  doing  justice  to  the  sincerity,  the  honesty,  and  the 
intelligence  of  the  author,  or  to  read  the  book  without  de- 
riving from  it  an  increased  aversion  to  absolute  power,  a 
keener  perception  of  its  sophistry,  and  the  hollowness  of  the 
apparent  prosperity  with  which  it  dazzles  public  opinion. 
These  impressions  I  have  especially  derived  from  it,  and  I 
desire  to  retain  them.  It  would  have  been  sufficient  preface 
to  this  book  had  I  written  only  those  words  which  my  father 
uttered,  sixty  years  ago,  when,  on  reading  Mme.  de  Stael, 
he  asked  his  mother  to  tell  him  the  story  of  the  cruel  years 
of  the  First  Empire :  "  All  honor  to  the  sincere ! " 

PAUL  DE  EfiMUSAT. 


MEMOIES  OF 

MADAME  DE  R^MUSAT. 


INTEODUCTIOK 

PORTRAITS     AND     ANECDOTES. 

Now  that  I  am  about  to  commence  these  Memoirs,  I 
think  it  well  to  precede  them  by  some  observations  on  the 
character  of  the  Emperor,  and  the  various  members  of  his 
family  respectively.  These  observations  will  help  me  in  the 
difficult  task  I  am  about  to  undertake,  by  aiding  me  to  recall 
the  impressions  of  the  last  twelve  years.  I  shall  begin  with 
Bonaparte  himself.  I  am  far  from  saying  that  he  always 
appeared  to  me  in  the  light  in  which  I  see  him  now ;  my 
opinions  have  progressed,  even  as  he  did ;  but  I  am  so  far 
from  being  influenced  by  personal  feelings,  that  I  do  not 
think  it  is  possible  for  me  to  deviate  from  the  exact  truth. 

Napoleon  Bonaparte  is  of  low  stature,  and  rather  ill- 
proportioned  ;  his  bust  is  too  long,  and  so  shortens  the  rest 
of  his  figure.  He  has  thin  chestnut  hair,  his  eyes  are  grayish 
blue,  and  his  skin,  which  was  yellow  while  he  was  slight, 
became  in  later  years  a  dead  white  without  any  color.  His 
forehead,  the  setting  of  his  eye,  the  line  of  his  nose — all  that 
is  beautiful,  and  reminds  one  of  an  antique  medallion.  His 
mouth,  which  is  thin-lipped,  becomes  agreeable  when  he 
laughs ;  the  teeth  are  regular.  His  chin  is  short,  and  his 


2       MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R&MUSAT. 

jaw  heavy  and  square.  He  has  well-formed  hands  and  feet ; 
I  mention  them  particularly,  because  he  thought  a  good  deal 
of  them. 

He  has  an  habitual  slight  stoop.  His  eyes  are  dull,  giv- 
ing to  his  face  when  in  repose  a  melancholy  and  meditative 
expression.  When  he  is  excited  with  anger  his  looks  are 
fierce  and  menacing.  Laughter  becomes  him ;  it  makes  him 
look  more  youthful  and  less  formidable.  It  is  difficult  not 
to  like  him  when  he  laughs,  his  countenance  improves  so 
much.  He  was  always  simple  in  his  dress,  and  generally 
wore  the  uniform  of  his  own  guard.  He  was  cleanly  rather 
from  habit  than  from  a  liking  for  cleanliness;  he  bathed 
often,  sometimes  in  the  middle  of  the  night,  because  he 
thought  the  practice  good  for  his  health.  But,  apart  from 
this,  the  precipitation  with  he  did  everything  did  not  admit 
of  his  clothes  being  put  on  carefully ;  and  on  gala  days  and 
full-dress  occasions  his  servants  were  obliged  to  consult  to- 
gether as  to  when  they  might  snatch  a  moment  to  dress  him. 

He  could  not  endure  the  wearing  of  ornaments ;  the 
slightest  constraint  was  insupportable  to  him.  He  would 
tear  off  or  break  anything  that  gave  him  the  least  annoy- 
ance ;  and  sometimes  the  poor  valet  who  had  occasioned  him 
a  passing  inconvenience  would  receive  violent  proof  of  his 
anger.  I  have  said  there  was  a  sort  of  fascination  in  the 
smile  of  Bonaparte ;  but,  during  all  the  time  I  was  in  the 
habit  of  seeing  him,  he  rarely  put  forth  that  charm.  Gravity 
was  the  foundation  of  his  character ;  not  the  gravity  of  a 
dignified  and  noble  manner,  but  that  which  arises  from  pro- 
found thought.  In  his  youth  he  was  a  dreamer ;  later  in  life 
he  became  a  moody,  and  later  still  an  habitually  ill-tempered 
man.  When  I  first  began  to  know  him  well,  he  was  exceed- 
ingly fond  of  all  that  induces  reverie— Ossian,  the  twilight, 
melancholy  music.  I  have  seen  him  enraptured  by  the  mur- 
mur of  the  wind,  I  have  heard  him  talk  with  enthusiasm  of 
the  moaning  of  the  sea,  and  he  was  tempted  sometimes  to 
believe  that  nocturnal  apparitions  were  not  beyond  the  bounds 


PORTRAITS  AND  ANECDOTES.  3 

of  possibility ;  in  fact,  he  had  a  leaning  to  certain  supersti- 
tions. When,  on  leaving  his  study  in  the  evening,  he  went 
into  Mme.  Bonaparte's  drawing-room,  he  would  sometimes 
have  the  candles  shaded  with  white  gauze,  desire  us  to  keep 
profound  silence,  and  amuse  himself  by  telling  or  hearing 
ghost  stories  ;  or  he  would  listen  to  soft,  sweet  music  exe- 
cuted by  Italian  singers,  accompanied  only  by  a  few  instru- 
ments lightly  touched.  Then  he  would  fall  into  a  reverie 
which  all  respected,  no  one  venturing  to  move  or  stir  from 
his  or  her  place.  When  he  aroused  himself  from  that  state, 
which  seemed  to  procure  him  a  sort  of  repose,  he  was  gen- 
erally more  serene  and  more  communicative.  Pie  liked  then 
to  talk  about  the  sensations  he  had  experienced.  He  would 
explain  the  effect  music  had  upon  him  ;  he  always  preferred 
that  of  Paisiello,  because  he  said  it  was  monotonous,  and 
that  impressions  which  repeat  themselves  are  the  only  ones 
that  take  possession  of  us.  The  geometrical  turn  of  his  mind 
disposed  him  to  analyze  even  his  emotions.  No  man  has 
ever  meditated  more  deeply  than  Bonaparte  on  the  "  where- 
fore "  that  rules  human  actions.  Always  aiming  at  some- 
thing, even  in  the  least  important  acts  of  his  life,  always  lay- 
ing bare  to  himself  a  secret  motive  for  each  of  them,  he 
could  never  understand  that  natural  nonchalance  which  leads 
some  persons  to  act  without  a  project  and  without  an  aim. 
He  always  judged  others  by  himself,  and  was  often  mistaken, 
his  conclusions  and  the  actions  which  ensued  upon  them  both 
proving  erroneous. 

Bonaparte  was  deficient  in  education  and  in  manners ;  it 
seemed  as  if  he  must  have  been  destined  either  to  live  in  a 
tent  where  all  men  are  equal,  or  upon  a  throne  where  every- 
thing is  permitted.  He  did  not  know  how  either  to  enter  or 
to  leave  a  room  ;  he  did  not  know  how  to  make  a  bow,  how 
to  rise,  or  how  to  sit  down.  His  questions  were  abrupt,  and 
so  also  was  his  manner  of  speech.  Spoken  by  him,  Italian 
loses  all  its  grace  and  sweetness.  Whatever  language  he 
speaks,  it  seems  always  to  be  a  foreign  tongue  to  him ;  he 


4:  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  JR^MUSAT. 

appears  to  force  it  to  express  his  thoughts.  And  then,  as 
any  rigid  rule  becomes  an  insupportable  annoyance  to  him, 
every  liberty  which  he  takes  pleases  him  as  though  it  were  a 
victory,  and  he  would  never  yield  even  to  grammar.  He 
used  to  say  that  in  his  youth  he  had  liked  reading  romances 
as  well  as  studying  the  exact  sciences ;  and  probably  he  was 
influenced  by  so  incongruous  a  mixture.  Unfortunately,  he 
had  met  with  the  worst  kind  of  romances,  and  retained  so 
keen  a  remembrance  of  the  pleasure  they  had  given  him  that, 
when  he  married  the  Archduchess  Marie  Louise,  he  gave  her 
"Hippolyte,  Comte  de  Douglas,"  and  "LesContemporains,"* 
so  that,  as  he  said,  she  might  form  an  idea  of  refined  feeling, 
and  also  of  the  customs  of  society. 

In  trying  to  depict  Bonaparte,  it  would  be  necessary,  fol- 
lowing the  analytical  forms  of  which  he  was  so  fond,  to  sepa- 
rate into  three  very  distinct  parts  his  soul,  his  heart,  and  his 
mind ;  for  no  one  of  these  ever  blended  completely  with  the 
others.  Although  very  remarkable  for  certain  intellectual 
qualities,  no  man,  it  must  be  allowed,  was  ever  less  lofty  of 
soul.  There  was  no  generosity,  no  true  greatness  in  him. 
J  haye  never  known  him  to  admire,  I  have  never  known  him 
to  comprehend,  a  fine  action.  He  always  regarded  every  in- 
dication of  a  good  feeling  with  suspicion ;  he  did  not  value 
sincerity  ;  and  he  did  npt  hesitate  to  say  that  he  recognized 
the  superiority,  of  a  man  by  the  greater  or  less  degree  of 
cleverness  with  which  he  used  the  art  of  lying.  On  the  oc- 
casion of  his  saying  this,  he  added,  with  great  complacency, 
that  when  he  was  a  child  one  of  his  uncles  had  predicted 
that  he  should  govern  the  world,  because  he  was  an  habitual 
liar.  "  M.  de  Metternich,"  he  added,  "  approaches  to  being 
a  statesman— he  lies  very  well." 

All  Bonaparte's  methods  of  government  were  selected 
from  among  those  which  have  a  tendency  to  debase  men. 
He  dreaded  the  ties  of  affection ;  he  endeavored  to  isolate 

*  "  Les  Contemporains  "  was  a  romance,  or  rather  a  series  of  stories  or  por- 
£raits,  by  Retif  de  la  Bretonne. 


PORTRAITS  AND  ANECDOTES.  5 

every  one ;  he  never  sold  a  favor  without  awakening  a  sense 
of  uneasiness,  for  he  held  that  the  true  way  to  attach  the 
recipients  to  himself  was  by  compromising  them,  and  often 
even  by  blasting  them  in  public  opinion.  He  could  not 
pardon  virtue  until  he  had  succeeded  in  weakening  its  effect 
by  ridicule.  He  can  not  be  said  to  have  truly  loved  glory, 
for  he  never  hesitated  to  prefer  success  to  it ;  thus,  although 
he  was  audacious  in  good  fortune,  and  although  he  pushed 
it  to  its  utmost  limits,  he  was  tirnid  and  troubled  when 
threatened  with  reverses.  Of  generous  courage  he  was  not 
capable ;  and,  indeed,  on  that  head  one  would  hardly  ven- 
ture to  tell  the  truth  so  plainly  as  he  has  told  it  himself,  by 
an  admission  recorded  in  an  anecdote  which  I  have  never 
forgotten.  One  day,  after  his  defeat  at  Leipsic,  and  when, 
as  he  was  about  to  return  to  Paris,  he  was  occupied  in  col- 
lecting the  remains  of  his  army  for  the  defense  of  our  fron- 
tiers, he  was  talking  to  M.  de  Talleyrand  of  the  ill  success 
of  the  Spanish  war,  and  of  the  difficulty  in  which  it  had  in- 
volved him.  He  spoke  openly  of  his  own  position,  not  with 
the  noble  frankness  that  does  not  fear  to  own  a  fault,  but 
with  that  haughty  sense  of  superiority  which  releases  one 
from  the  necessity  of  dissimulation.  At  this  interview,  in 
the  midst  of  his  plain  speaking,  M.  de  Talleyrand  said  to 
him  suddenly,  "  But  how  is  it  ?  You  consult  me  as  if  we 
had  not  quarreled." 

Bonaparte  answered,  "  Ah,  circumstances !  circumstances! 
Let  us  leave  the  past  and  the  future  alone.  I  want  to  hear 
what  you  think  of  the  present  moment." 

"Well,"  replied  M.  de  Talleyrand,  "there  is  only  one 
thing  you  can  do.  You  have  made  a  mistake :  you  must  say 
so ;  try  to  say  so  nobly.  Proclaim,  therefore,  that  being  a 
King  by  the  choice  of  the  people,  elected  by  the  nations,  it 
has  never  been  your  design  to  set  yourself  against  them. 
Say  that,  when  you  began  the  war  with  Spain,  you  believed 
you  were  about  to  deliver  the  people  from  the  yoke  of  an 
odious  minister,  who  was  encouraged  by  the  weakness  of  his 


6       MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R&MUSAT. 

prince ;  but  that,  on  closer  observation,  you  perceive  that  the 
Spaniards,  although  aware  of  the  faults  of  their  King,  are 
none  the  less  attached  to  his  dynasty,  which  you  are  there- 
fore about  to  restore  to  them,  so  that  it  may  not  be  said  you 
ever  opposed  a  national  aspiration.  After  that  proclamation, 
restore  King  Ferdinand  to  liberty,  and  withdraw  your  troops. 
Such  an  avowal,  made  in  a  lofty  tone,  and  when  the  enemy 
are  still  hesitating  on  our  frontier,  can  only  do  you  honor ; 
and  you  are  still  too  strong  for  it  to  be  regarded  as  a  coward- 
ly act." 

"  A  cowardly  act ! "  replied  Bonaparte ;  "  what  does  that 
matter  to  me  ?  Understand  that  I  should  not  fail  to  com- 
mit one,  if  it  were  useful  to  me.  In  reality,  there  is  nothing 
really  noble  or  base  in  this  world ;  I  have  in  my  character 
all  that  can  contribute  to  secure  my  power,  and  to  deceive 
those  who  think  they  know  me.  Frankly,  I  am  base,  essen- 
tially base.  I  give  you  my  word  that  I  should  feel  no  re- 
pugnance to  commit  what  would  be  called  by  the  world  a 
dishonorable  action ;  my  secret  tendencies,  which  are,  after 
all,  those  of  nature,  opposed  to  certain  affectations  of  great- 
ness with  which  I  have  to  adorn  myself,  give  me  infinite 
resources  with  which  to  baffle  every  one.  Therefore,  all  I 
have  to  do  now  is  to  consider  whether  your  advice  agrees 
with  my  present  policy,  and  to  try  and  find  out  besides,"  he 
added  (says  M.  de  Talleyrand),  with  a  satanic  smile,  "  wheth- 
er you  have  not  some  private  interest  in  urging  me  to  take 
this  step." 

Another  anecdote  which  bears  on  the  same  characteristic 
will  not  be  out  of  place  here.  Bonaparte,  when  on  the 
point  of  setting  out  for  Egypt,  went  to  see  M.  de  Talley- 
rand, then  Minister  of  Foreign  Affairs  under  the  Directory. 
"  I  was  in  bed,  being  ill,"  said  M.  de  Talleyrand.  "  Bona- 
parte sat  down  near  me,  and  divulged  to  me  all  the  dreams 
of  his  youthful  imagination.  I  was  interested  in  him  be- 
cause of  the  activity  of  his  mind,  and  also  on  account  of  the 
obstacles  which  I  was  aware  would  be  placed  in  his  way  by 


PORTRAITS  AND  ANECDOTES.  7 

secret  enemies  of  whom  I  knew.  He  told  me  of  the  diffi- 
culty in  which  he  was  placed  for  want  of  money,  and  that 
he  did  not  know  where  to  get  any.  i  Stay,'  I  said  to  him  ; 
'  open  my  desk.  You  will  find  there  a  hundred  thousand 
francs  which  belong  to  me.  They  are  yours  for  the  present ; 
you  may  repay  the  money  when  you  return.'  Bonaparte 
threw  himself  on  my  neck,  and  I  was  really  delighted  to 
witness  his  joy.  When  he  became  Consul,  he  gave  me  back 
the  money  I  had  lent  him  ;  but  he  asked  me  one  day,  '  What 
interest  could  you  have  had  in  lending  me  that  money  ?  I 
have  thought  about  it  a  hundred  times  since  then,  and  have 
never  been  able  to  make  out  your  object.'  '  I  had  none,'  I 
replied.  '  I  was  feeling  very  ill :  it  was  quite  possible  I 
might  never  see  you  again ;  but  you  were  young,  you  had 
impressed  me  very  strongly,  and  I  felt  impelled  to  render 
you  a  service  without  any  afterthought  whatsoever.'  '  In 
that  case,'  said  Bonaparte,  '  and  if  it  was  really  done  without 
any  design,  you  acted  a  dupe's  part.' '' 

According  to  the  order  I  have  laid  down,  I  ought  now  to 
speak  of  Bonaparte's  heart ;  but,  if  it  were  possible  to  believe 
that  a  being,  in  every  other  way  similar  to  ourselves,  could 
exist  without  that  portion  of  our  organization  which  makes 
us  desire  to  love  and  to  be  loved,  I  should  say  that  in  his  cre- 
ation the  heart  was  left  out.  Perhaps,  however,  the  truth 
was  that  he  succeeded  in  suppressing  it  completely.  He  was 
always  too  much  engrossed  by  himself  to  be  influenced  by 
any  sentiment  of  affection,  no  matter  of  what  kind.  He  al- 
most ignored  the  ties  of  blood  and  the  rights  of  nature ;  I  do 
not  know  that  even  paternity  weighed  with  him.  It  seemed, 
at  least,  that  he  did  not  regard  it  as  his  primary  relation  with 
his  son.  One  day,  at  breakfast,  when,  as  was  often  the  case, 
Talma  had  been  admitted  to  see  him,  the  young  Napoleon 
was  brought  to  him.  The  Emperor  took  the  child  on  his 
knee,  and,  far  from  caressing,  amused  himself  by  slapping 
him,  though  not  so  as  to  hurt  him  ;  then,  turning  to  Talma, 
he  said,  "Talma,  tell  me  what  I  am  doing?"  Talma,  as 


8  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  RfiMUSAT. 

may  be  supposed,  did  not  know  what  to  say.  "  You  do  not 
see  it,"  continued  the  Emperor ;  "  I  am  slapping  a  King." 

Notwithstanding  his  habitual  hardness,  Bonaparte  was 
not  entirely  without  experience  of  love.  But,  good  heav- 
ens !  what  manner  of  sentiment  was  it  in  his  case  ?  A  sen- 
sitive person  forgets  self  in  love,  and  becomes  almost  trans- 
formed ;  but  to  a  man  of  the  stamp  of  Bonaparte  it  only 
supplies  an  additional  sort  of  despotism.  The  Emperor  de- 
spised women,  and  contempt  can  not  exist  together  with  love. 
He  regarded  their  weakness  as  an  unanswerable  proof  of 
their  inferiority,  and  the  power  they  have  acquired  in  socie- 
ty as  an  intolerable  usurpation — a  result  and  an  abuse  of  the 
progress  of  that  civilization  which,  as  M.  de  Talleyrand  said, 
was  always  his  personal  enemy.  On  this  account  Bonaparte 
was  under  restraint  in  the  society  of  women  ;  and,  as  every 
kind  of  restraint  put  him  out  of  humor,  he  was  always  awk- 
ward in  their  presence,  and  never  knew  how  to  talk  to  them. 
It  is  true  that  the  women  with  whom  he  was  acquainted 
were  not  calculated  to  change  his  views  of  the  sex.  "We 
may  easily  imagine  the  nature  of  his  youthful  experiences. 
In  Italy  morals  were  utterly  depraved,  and  the  general  licen- 
tiousness was  augmented  by  the  presence  of  the  French 
army.  "When  he  returned  to  France  society  was  entirely 
broken  up  and  dispersed.  The  circle  that  surrounded  the 
Directory  was  a  corrupt  one,  and  the  Parisian  women  to 
whose  society  he  was  admitted  were  vain  and  frivolous,  the 
wives  of  men  of  business  and  contractors.  When  he  became 
Consul,  and  made  his  generals  and  his  aides-de-camp  marry, 
or  ordered  them  to  bring  their  wives  to  Court,  the  only 
women  he  had  about  him  were  timid  and  silent  girls,  newly 
married,  or  the  wives  of  his  former  comrades,  suddenly  with- 
drawn from  obscurity  by  the  good  fortune  of  their  husbands, 
and  ill  able  to  conform  to  the  change  in  their  position. 

I  am  disposed  to  believe  that  Bonaparte,  almost  always 
exclusively  occupied  by  politics,  was  never  awakened  to  love 
except  by  vanity.  He  thought  nothing  of  a  woman  except 


PORTRAITS  AND  ANECD01E8.  9 

while  she  was  beautiful,  or  at  least  young.  He  would  prob- 
ably have  been  willing  to  subscribe  to  the  doctrine  that,  in  a 
well-organized  country,  we  should  be  killed — just  as  certain 
kinds  of  insects  are  destined  by  nature  to  a  speedy  death,  so 
soon  as  they  have  accomplished  the  task  of  maternity.  Yet 
Bonaparte  had  some  affection  for  his  first  wife ;  and,  if  he  was 
ever  really  stirred  by  any  emotion,  it  was  by  her  and  for  her. 
Even  a  Bonaparte  can  not  completely  escape  from  every  influ- 
ence, and  a  man's  character  is  composed,  not  of  what  he  is 
always,  but  of  what  he  is  most  frequently. 

Bonaparte  was  young  when  he  first  made  the  acquain- 
tance of  Mme.  de  Beauharnais,  who  was  greatly  superior  to 
the  rest  of  the  circle  in  which  she  moved,  both  by  reason 
of  the  name  she  bore  and  from  the  elegance  of  her  manners. 
She  attached  herself  to  him,  and  flattered  his  pride ;  she  pro- 
cured him  a  step  in  rank ;  he  became  accustomed  to  associate 
the  idea  of  her  influence  with  every  piece  of  good  fortune 
which  befell  him.  This  superstition,  which  she  kept  up 
very  cleverly,  exerted  great  power  over  him  for  a  long  time ; 
it  even  induced  him  more  than  once  to  delay  the  execution  of 
his  projects  of  divorce.  When  he  married  Mme.  de  Beau- 
harnais, Bonaparte  believed  that  he  was  allying  himself  to  a 
very  great  lady ;  his  marriage,  therefore,  was  one  conquest 
the  more.  I  shall  give  further  details  of  the  charm  she  exer- 
cised over  him  when  I  have  to  speak  more  particularly 
of  her. 

Notwithstanding  his  preference  for  her,  I  have  seen  him 
in  love  two  or  three  times,  and  it  was  on  those  occasions 
that  he  exhibited  the  full  measure  of  the  despotism  of  his 
character.  How  irritated  he  became  at  the  least  obstacle! 
How  roughly  he  put  aside  the  jealous  remonstrances  of  his 
wife !  "  It  is  your  place,"  he  said,  "  to  submit  to  all  my 
fancies,  and  you  ought  to  think  it  quite  natural  that  I  should 
allow  myself  amusements  of  this  kind.  I  have  a  right  to  an- 
swer all  your  complaints  by  an  eternal  I.  I  am  a  person 
apart ;  I  will  not  be  dictated  to  by  any  one."  But  he  soon 


10  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R&MUSAT. 

began  to  desire  to  exercise  over  the  object  of  his  passing 
preference  an  authority  equal  to  that  by  which  he  silenced 
his  wife.  Astonished  that  any  one  should  have  any  ascen- 
dancy over  him,  he  speedily  became  angry  with  the  auda- 
cious individual,  and  he  would  abruptly  get  rid  of  the  object 
of  his  brief  passion,  having  let  the  public  into  the  transpa- 
rent secret  of  his  success. 

The  intellect  of  Bonaparte  was  most  remarkable.  It 
would  be  difficult,  I  think,  to  find  among  men  a  more  power- 
ful or  comprehensive  mind.  It  owed  nothing  to  education ; 
for,  in  reality,  he  was  ignorant,  reading  but  little,  and  that 
hurriedly.  But  he  quickly  seized  upon  the  little  he  learned, 
and  his  imagination  developed  it  so  extensively  that  he  might 
easily  have  passed  for  a  well-educated  man. 

His  intellectual  capacity  seemed  to  be  vast,  from  the 
number  of  subjects  he  could  take  in  and  classify  without 
fatigue.  With  him  one  idea  gave  birth  to  a  thousand,  and  a 
word  would  lift  his  conversation  into  elevated  regions  of 
fancy,  in  which  exact  logic  did  not  indeed  keep  him  com- 
pany, but  in  which  his  intellect  never  failed  to  shine. 

It  was  always  a  great  pleasure  to  me  to  hear  him  talk,  or 
rather  to  hear  him  hold  forth,  for  his  conversation  was  com- 
posed generally  of  long  monologues ;  not  that  he  objected  to 
replies  when  he  was  in  a  good  humor,  but,  for  many  reasons, 
it  was  not  always  easy  to  answer  him.  His  Court,  which  for 
a  long  time  was  entirely  military,  listened  to  his  least  word 
with  the  respect  that  is  paid  to  the  word  of  command ;  and 
afterward  it  became  so  numerous  that  any  individual  under- 
taking to  refute  him,  or  to  carry  on  a  dialogue  with  him,  felt 
like  an  actor  before  an  audience.  I  have  said  that  he  spoke 
badly,  but  his  language  was  generally  animated  and  brilliant ; 
his  grammatical  inaccuracies  sometimes  lent  his  sentences 
an  unexpected  strength,  very  suitable  to  the  originality  of 
his  ideas.  He  required  no  interlocutor  to  warm  him  up. 
He  would  dash  into  a  subject,  and  go  on  for  a  long  time, 
careful  to  notice,  however,  whether  he  was  followed,  and 


PORTRAITS  AND  ANECDOTES.  H 

pleased  with  those  who  comprehended  and  applauded  him. 
Formerly,  to  know  how  to  listen  to  him  was  a  sure  and  easy 
way  of  pleasing  him.  Like  an  actor  who  becomes  excited 
by  the  effect  he  produces,  Bonaparte  enjoyed  the  admiration 
he  watched  for  closely  in  the  faces  of  his  audience.  I  re- 
member well  how,  because  he  interested  me  very  much  when 
he  spoke,  and  I  listened  to  him  with  pleasure,  he  proclaimed 
me  a  woman  of  intellect,  although  at  that  time  I  had  not 
addressed  two  consecutive  sentences  to  him. 

He  was  very  fond  of  talking  about  himself,  and  criticised 
himself  on  certain  points,  just  as  another  person  might  have 
done.  Eather  than  fail  to  make  the  most  out  of  his  own 
character,  he  would  not  have  hesitated  to  subject  it  to  the 
most  searching  analysis.  He  used  often  to  say  that  a  real 
politician  knows  how  to  calculate  even  the  smallest  profits 
that  he  can  make  out  of  his  defects ;  and  M.  de  Talleyrand 
carried  that  reflection  even  further.  I  once  heard  him  say, 
"  That  devil  of  a  man  deceives  one  on  all  points.  His  very- 
passions  mislead,  for  he  manages  to  dissemble  them  even 
when  they  really  exist."  I  can  recall  an  incident  which  will 
show  how,  when  he  found  it  useful,  he  could  pass  from  the 
most  complete  calm  to  the  most  violent  anger. 

A  little  while  before  our  last  rupture  with  England,  a 
rumor  was  spread  that  war  was  about  to  recommence,  and 
that  the  ambassador,  Lord  Whitworth,  was  preparing  to  leave 
Paris.  Once  a  month  the  First  Consul  was  in  the  habit  of 
receiving,  in  Mme.  Bonaparte's  apartments,  the  ambassadors 
and  their  wives.  This  reception  was  held  in  great  pomp. 
The  foreigners  were  ushered  into  a  drawing-room,  and  when 
they  were  all  there  the  First  Consul  would  appear,  accompa- 
nied by  his  wife.  Both  were  attended  by  a  prefect  and  a 
lady  of  the  palace.  To  each  of  them  the  ambassadors  and 
their  wives  were  introduced  by  name.  Mme.  Bonaparte 
would  take  a  seat ;  the  First  Consul  would  keep  up  the  con- 
versation for  a  longer  or  a  shorter  time,  according  to  his  con- 
venience, and  then  withdraw  with  a  slight  bow.  A  few 


12  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R&MUSAT. 

days  before  the  breach  of  the  peace,  the  Corps  Diplomatique 
had  met  as  usual  at  the  Tuileries.  While  they  were  wait- 
ing, I  went  to  Mme.  Bonaparte's  apartment,  and  entered  the 
dressing-room,  where  she  was  finishing  her  toilet. 

The  First  Consul  was  sitting  on  the  floor,  playing  with 
little  Napoleon,  the  eldest  son  of  his  brother  Louis.  He 
presently  began  to  criticise  his  wife's  dress,  and  also  mine, 
giving  us  his  opinion  on  every  detail  of  our  costume.  He 
seemed  to  be  in  the  best  possible  humor.  I  remarked  this, 
and  said  to  him  that,  judging  by  appearances,  the  letters  the 
ambassadors  would  have  to  write,  after  the  approaching  audi- 
ence, would  breathe  nothing  but  peace  and  concord.  Bona- 
parte laughed,  and  went  on  playing  with  his  little  nephew. 

By-and-by  he  was  told  that  the  company  had  arrived. 
Then  he  rose  quickly,  the  gayety  vanished  from  his  face,  and 
I  was  struck  by  the  severe  expression  that  suddenly  replaced 
it :  he  seemed  to  grow  pale  at  will,  his  features  contracted  ; 
and  all  this  in  less  time  than  it  takes  me  to  describe  it.  "  Let 
us  go,  mesdames,"  said  he,  in  a  troubled  voice ;  and  then  he 
walked  on  quickly,  entered  the  drawing-room,  and,  without 
bowing  to  any  one,  advanced  to  the  English  ambassador. 
To  him  he  began  to  complain  bitterly  of  the  proceedings  of 
his  Government.  His  anger  seemed  to  increase  every  min- 
ute ;  it  soon  reached  a  height  which  terrified  the  assembly ; 
the  hardest  words,  the  most  violent  threats,  were  poured 
forth  by  his  trembling  lips.  No  one  dared  to  move.  Mme. 
Bonaparte  and  I  looked  at  each  other,  dumb  with  astonish- 
ment, and  every  one  trembled.  The  impassibility  of  the 
Englishman  was  even  disconcerted,  and  it  was  with  difficulty 
he  could  find  words  to  answer. 

Another  anecdote*  which  sounds  strange,  but  is  very 

*  The  Abbe  de  Pradt  relates  that  on  one  occasion,  after  a  violent  Bcene,  the 
Emperor  came  to  him  and  said :  "  You  thought  me  terribly  angry  ?  Undeceive 
yourself;  with  me  anger  never  goes  beyond  this."  And  he  passed  his  hand 
across  his  throat,  thus  indicating  that  his  passion  never  rose  high  enough  to 
disturb  his  head. 


PORTRAITS  AND  ANECDOTES.  13 

characteristic,  proves  how  completely  he  could  command 
himself  when  he  chose  to  do  so. 

When  he  was  traveling,  or  even  during  a  campaign,  he 
never  failed  to  indulge  in  gallantries  which  he  regarded  as 
a  short  respite  from  business  or  battles.  His  brother-in-law 
Murat,  and  his  grand-marshal  Duroc,  were  charged  with  the 
task  of  procuring  him  the  means  of  gratifying  his  passing 
fancies.  On  the  occasion  of  his  first  entry  into  Poland, 
Murat,  who  had  preceded  him  to  Warsaw,  was  ordered 
to  find  for  the  Emperor,  who  would  shortly  arrive,  a  young 
and  pretty  mistress,  and  to  select  her  from  among  the  nobil- 
ity. He  acquitted  himself  cleverly  of  this  commission,  and 
induced  a  noble  young  Polish  lady,  who  was  married  to  an 
old  man,  to  comply  with  the  Emperor's  wishes.  Ko  one 
knows  what  means  he  employed,  or  what  were  his  promises ; 
but  at  last  the  lady  consented  to  go  in  the  evening  to  the 
castle  near  "Warsaw,  where  the  Emperor  was  lodged. 

The  fair  one  arrived  rather  late  at  her  destination.  She 
has  herself  narrated  this  adventure,  and  she  acknowledges, 
what  we  can  readily  believe,  that  she  arrived  agitated  and 
trembling. 

The  Emperor  was  in  his  cabinet.  The  lady's  arrival  was 
announced  to  him ;  but,  without  disturbing  himself,  he  or- 
dered her  to  be  conducted  to  her  apartment,  and  offered 
supper  and  a  bath,  adding  that  afterward  she  might  retire  to 
rest  if  she  chose.  Then  he  quietly  went  on  writing  until  a 
late  hour  at  night. 

At  last,  his  business  being  finished,  he  proceeded  to  the 
apartment  where  he  had  been  so  long  waited  for,  and  pre- 
sented himself  with  all  the  manner  of  a  master  who  disdains 
useless  preliminaries.  Without  losing  a  moment,  he  began  a 
singular  conversation  on  the  political  situation  of  Poland, 
questioning  the  young  lady  as  if  she  had  been  a  police  agent, 
and  demanding  some  very  circumstantial  information  respect- 
ing the  great  Polish  nobles  who  were  then  in  Warsaw.  He 
inquired  particularly  into  their  opinions  and  their  present  in- 


14  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R&MUSAT. 

terests,  and  prolonged  this  extraordinary  interrogatory  for  a 
long  time.  The  astonishment  of  a  woman  twenty  years  of 
age,  who  was  not  prepared  for  such  a  cross-examination,  may 
be  imagined.  She  answered  him  as  well  as  she  could,  and 
only  when  she  could  tell  him  no  more  did  he  seem  to  remem- 
ber that  Murat  had  promised,  in  his  name,  an  interview  of  a 
more  tender  nature. 

This  extraordinary  wooing  did  not,  however,  prevent  the 
young  Polish  lady  from  becoming  attached  to  the  Emperor, 
for  their  liaison  was  prolonged  during  several  campaigns. 
Afterward  the  fair  Pole  came  to  Paris,  where  a  son  was 
born,  who  became  the  object  of  the  hopes  of  Poland,  the 
rallying  point  of  Polish  dreams  of  independence. 

I  saw  his  mother  when  she  was  presented  at  the  Imperial 
Court,  where  she  at  first  excited  the  jealousy  of  Mine.  Bona- 
parte ;  but  after  the  divorce  she  became  the  intimate  friend 
of  the  repudiated  Empress  at  Malmaison,  whither  she  often 
brought  her  son.  It  is  said  that  she  was  faithful  to  the  Em- 
peror in  his  misfortunes,  and  that  she  visited  him  more  than 
once  at  the  Isle  of  Elba.  He  found  her  again  in  France 
when  he  made  his  last  and  fatal  appearance  there.  But, 
after  his  second  fall  (I  do  not  know  at  what  time  she  became 
a  widow),  she  married  again,  and  she  died  in  Paris  this  year 
(1818).  I  had  these  details  from  M.  de  Talleyrand. 

I  will  now  resume  my  sketch.  Bonaparte  carried  self- 
ishness so  far  that  it  was  not  easy  to  move  him  about  any- 
thing that  did  not  concern  himself.  He  was,  however,  oc- 
casionally surprised,  as  it  were,  into  impulses  of  tenderness ; 
but  they  were  very  fugitive,  and  always  ended  in  ill  humor. 
It  was  not  uncommon  to  see  him  moved  even  to  the  point  of 
shedding  a  few  tears ;  they  seemed  to  arise  from  nervous  ir- 
ritation, of  which  they  became  the  crisis.  "I  have,"  he 
said,  "  very  unmanageable  nerves,,  and  at  these  times,  if  my 
blood  did  not  always  flow  slowly,  I  think  I  should  be  very 
likely  to  go  mad."  I  know,  indeed,  from  Corvisart,  that  his 
pulse  beat  more  slowly  than  is  usual  for  a  man's.  Bonaparte 


PORTRAITS  AND  ANECDOTES.  15 

never  felt  what  is  commonly  called  giddiness,  and  lie  always 
said  that  the  expression,  "  My  head  is  going  round,"  con- 
veyed no  meaning  to  him.  It  was  not  only  from  the  ease 
with  which  he  yielded  to  all  his  impulses  that  he  often  used 
language  which  was  painful  and  distressing  to  those  whom 
he  addressed,  but  also  because  he  felt  a  secret  pleasure  in 
exciting  fear,  and  in  harassing  the  more  or  less  trembling 
individuals  before  him.  He  held  that  uncertainty  stimulates 
zeal,  and  therefore  he  rarely  displayed  satisfaction  with 
either  persons  or  things.  Admirably  served,  always  obeyed 
on  the  moment,  he  would  still  find  fault,  and  keep  every- 
body in  the  palace  in  dread  of  his  displeasure  about  some 
small  detail.  If  the  easy  flow  of  his  conversation  had  estab- 
lished for  the  time  a  sense  of  ease,  he  would  suddenly  imag- 
ine that  it  might  be  abused,  and  by  a  hard  and  imperious 
word  put  the  person  whom  he  had  welcomed  and  encouraged 
in  his  or  her  place  —  that  is  to  say,  in  fear.  He  hated  repose 
for  himself  and  grudged  it  to  others.  When  M.  de  Kemusat 
had  arranged  one  of  those  magnificent  fetes  where  all  the 
arts  were  laid  under  contribution  for  his  pleasure,  I  was 
never  asked  whether  the  Emperor  was  pleased,  but  whether 
he  had  grumbled  more  or  less.  His  service  was  the  severest 
of  toil.  He  has  been  heard  to  say,  in  one  of  those  moments 
when  the  strength  of  conviction  appeared  to  weigh  upon 
him,  "  The  truly  happy  man  is  he  who  hides  from  me  in 
the  country,  and  when  I  die  the  world  will  utter  a  great 


I  have  said  that  Bonaparte  was  incapable  of  generosity  ; 
and  yet  his  gifts  were  immense,  and  the  rewards  he  bestowed 
gigantic.  But,  when  he  paid  for  a  service,  he  made  it  plain 
that  he  expected  to  buy  another,  and  a  vague  uneasiness  as  to 
the  conditions  of  the  bargain  always  remained.  There  wag 
also  a  good  deal  of  caprice  in  his  gifts,  so  that  they  rarely  ex- 
cited gratitude.  Moreover,  he  required  that  the  money  he 
distributed  should  all  be  expended,  and  he  rather  liked  peo- 
ple to  contract  debts,  because  it  kept  them  in  a  state  of  de- 
5 


16  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  EtiMUSAT. 

pendence.  His  wife  gave  him  complete  satisfaction  in  the 
latter  particular,  and  he  would  never  put  her  affairs  in  order, 
so  that  he  might  keep  the  power  of  making  her  uneasy  in  his 
hands.  At  one  time  he  settled  a  considerable  revenue  on  M. 
de  R6musat,  that  we  might  keep  what  is  called  open  house, 
and  receive  a  great  many  foreigners.  We  were  very  exact 
in  the  first  expenses  demanded  by  a  great  establishment.  A 
little  while  after,  I  had  the  misfortune  to  lose  my  mother, 
and  was  forced  to  close  my  house.  The  Emperor  then  re- 
scinded all  his  gifts,  on  the  ground  that  we  could  not  keep 
the  engagement  we  had  made,  and  he  left  us  in  what  was 
really  a  position  of  embarrassment,  caused  entirely  by  his 
fugitive  and  burdensome  gifts.  I  pause  here.  If  I  carry 
out  the  plan  I  have  formed,  my  memory,  carefully  consulted, 
will  furnish  me  by  degrees  with  other  anecdotes  which  will 
complete  this  sketch.  What  I  have  already  written  will  suf- 
fice to  convey  an  idea  of  the  character  of  him  with  whom 
circumstances  connected  the  best  years  of  my  life. 

BONAPARTE'S  MOTHER. 

Mme.  Bonaparte  (nee  Ramolini)  was  married  in  1767  to 
Charles  Bonaparte,  who  belonged  to  one  of  the  noble  fami- 
lies of  Corsica.  It  is  said  that  there  had  been  a  liaison  be- 
tween her  and  M.  de  Marbeuf,  governor  of  the  island ;  and 
some  went  so  far  as  to  allege  that  Napoleon  was  the  son  of 
M.  de  Marbeuf.  It  is  certain  that  he  always  showed  kind- 
ness to  the  family  of  Marbeuf.  However  that  may  have 
been,  the  governor  had  Napoleon  Bonaparte  included  among 
the  number  of  noble  children  who  were  to  be  sent  from  Cor- 
sica to  France,  to  be  educated  at  a  military  school.  He  was 
placed  at  that  of  Brienne. 

The  English  having  become  masters  of  Corsica  in  1790, 
Mme.  Bonaparte,  a  rich  widow,  retired  to  Marseilles  with 
her  other  children.  Their  education  had  been  much  neg- 
lected, and,  if  we  are  to  accept  the  recollections  of  the  Mar- 
seillais  as  evidence,  her  daughters  had  not  been  brought  up 


PORTRAITS  AND  ANECDOTES.  17 

under  the  strict  rule  of  a  scrupulous  morality.  The  Em- 
peror, indeed,  never  pardoned  the  town  of  Marseilles  for 
having  been  aware  of  the  position  his  family  occupied  at 
that  period,  and  the  disparaging  anecdotes  of  them  impru- 
dently repeated  by  certain  Provencals  seriously  militated 
against  the  interests  of  the  whole  of  Provence. 

The  widowed  Mme.  Bonaparte  established  herself  at 
Paris  on  her  son's  attainment  of  power.  She  lived  a  retired 
life,  amassing  as  much  money  as  possible ;  she  meddled  in 
no  public  matters,  and  neither  had  nor  wished  to  have  any 
influence.  Her  son  overawed  her,  as  he  did  all  the  rest  of 
the  world.  She  was  a  woman  of  very  ordinary  intelligence, 
who,  notwithstanding  the  rank  in  which  events  placed  her, 
never  did  anything  worthy  of  praise.  After  the  fall  of  the 
Empire  she  retired  to  Home,  where  she  lived  with  her  brother, 
Cardinal  Fesch.  It  is  said  that  he,  in  the  first  Italian  cam- 
paign, showed  himself  eager  to  profit  by  the  opportunity  of 
founding  his  fortune  which  then  presented  itself.  He  ac- 
quired, received,  or  even  took,  it  is  said,  a  considerable  quan- 
tity of  pictures,  statues,  and  valuable  articles,  which  have 
since  served  to  decorate  his  various  residences.  When  he 
afterward  became  a  Cardinal  and  Archbishop  of  Lyons,  he 
devoted  himself  wholly  to  the  duties  of  his  two  great  offices, 
and  in  the  end  he  acquired  a  most  honorable  reputation 
among  the  clergy.  He  often  opposed  the  Emperor  while 
his  disputes  with  the  Pope  were  pending,  and  was  not  one 
of  the  least  obstacles  to  the  execution  of  Bonaparte's  wishes 
on  the  occasion  of  the  futile  attempt  to  hold  a  council  at 
Paris.  Either  for  political  reasons  or  from  religious  motives, 
he  made  some  opposition  to  the  divorce ;  at  least,  the  Em- 
press Josephine  believed  him  to  have  done  so.  I  shall  go 
more  into  details  on  this  subject  hereafter.  The  Cardinal 
has,  since  his  retirement  to  Rome,  preserved  the  unvarying 
favor  of  the  Sovereign  Pontiff.* 

*  Mme.  Bonaparte,  born  in  1750,  died  in  1839.     Cardinal  Fesch,  born  at 
Ajaccio  the  3d  of  January,  1763,  died  at  Rome  the  13th  of  May,  1839.— P.  R. 


18  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R&MUSAT. 

JOSEPH  BONAPARTE. 

Joseph  Bonaparte  was  born  in  1768.  He  has  a  hand- 
some face,  is  fond  of  the  society  of  women,  and  has  always 
been  remarkable  for  having  gentler  manners  than  any  of  his 
brothers.  Like  them,  however,  he  affects  astute  duplicity. 
His  ambition,  although  less  developed  than  that  of  Napo- 
leon, has  nevertheless  come  out  under  certain  circumstances, 
and  he  has  always  shown  capacity  enough  to  be  master  of  the 
situations  in  which  he  has  been  placed,  difficult  though  they 
have  often  been.  In  1805  Bonaparte  wished  to  make  Joseph 
King  of  Italy,  requiring  him,  however,  to  renounce  all  claim 
to  the  succession  to  the  throne  of  France.  This  Joseph  re- 
fused to  do.  He  always  adhered  tenaciously  to  what  he 
called  his  rights,  and  believed  himself  destined  to  give  the 
French  repose  from  the  turmoil  in  which  they  were  kept  by 
the  over-activity  of  his  brother.  He  understood  better  than 
Napoleon  how  to  carry  a  point  by  fair  means,  but  he  failed 
to  inspire  confidence.  He  is  amiable  in  domestic  life ;  but 
he  did  not  exhibit  much  ability,  either  on  the  throne  of 
Naples  or  on  that  of  Spain.  It  is  true  he  was  permitted  to 
reign  only  as  if  he  were  Napoleon's  lieutenant,  and  in  nei- 
ther country  did  he  inspire  personal  esteem  or  arouse  ani- 
mosity.* 

His  wife,  the  daughter  of  a  Marseilles  merchant  named 
Clary,  is  the  simplest  and  the  best  woman  in  the  world. 
Plain,  common-looking,  timid,  and  silent,  she  attracted  no 
attention,  either  at  the  Emperor's  Court,  or  when  she  suc- 
cessively wore  those  two  crowns  which  she  has  apparently 
lost  without  regret.  There  are  two  daughters  by  this  mar- 
riage. The  family  is  now  established  in  America.  The  sis- 
ter of  Mme.  Bonaparte  was  married  to  General  Bernadotte, 
now  King  of  Sweden.  She,  who  was  not  a  commonplace 
person,  had  before  her  marriage  been  very  much  in  love  with 
Napoleon,  and  appears  to  have  always  preserved  the  memory 

*  Joseph  Bonaparte  died  at  Florence,  the  28th  of  July,  1844.— P.  R. 


PORTRAITS  AND  ANECDOTES.  19 

of  that  feeling.  It  has  been  supposed  that  her  hardly 
extinguished  passion  caused  her  obstinate  refusal  to  leave 
France.  She  lives  in  Paris  at  present,  where  she  leads  a 
very  retired  life.* 

LTTCIEN  BONAPARTE. 

Lucien  Bonaparte  has  a  great  deal  of  ability.  He  dis- 
played a  taste  for  the  arts  and  for  certain  kinds  of  literature 
at  an  early  age.  As  a  deputy  from  Corsica,  some  of  his 
speeches  in  the  Council  of  the  Five  Hundred  were  remarked 
at  the  time ;  among  others,  that  which  he  made  on  the  22d 
of  September,  1798,  the  anniversary  of  the  foundation  of 
the  Republic.  He  there  defined  the  oath  that  each  member 
of  the  Council  ought  to  take — to  watch  over  the  constitution 
and  liberty,  and  to  execrate  any  Frenchman  who  should  en- 
deavor to  reestablish  royalty.  On  General  Jourdan's  express- 
ing some  fears  relative  to  the  rumors  that  the  Council  was 
menaced  with  a  speedy  overthrow,  Lucien  reminded  them  of 
the  existence  of  a  decree  which  pronounced  outlawry  on  all 
who  should  attack  the  inviolability  of  the  national  repre- 
sentation. It  is  probable  that  all  the  time  he  had  a  secret 
understanding  with  his  brother,  and  was  awaiting  like  him 
the  approach  of  the  hour  when  they  might  lay  the  founda- 
tion for  the  elevation  of  their  family.  There  were,  however, 
some  constitutional  ideas  in  Lucien' s  head ;  and,  perhaps,  if 
he  had  been  able  to  preserve  any  influence  over  his  brother, 
he  might  have  opposed  the  indefinite  growth  of  arbitrary 
power.  He  succeeded  in  sending  information  to  Napoleon 
in  Egypt  of  the  state  of  affairs  in  France ;  and,  having  thus 
hastened  his  brother's  return,  he  aided  him  effectually,  as  is 
well  known,  in  the  revolution  of  the  18th  Brumaire,  1799. 

Lucien  afterward  became  minister  of  the  interior,  then 
Ambassador  to  Spain,  and  in  both  capacities  he  gave  offense 
to  the  First  Consul.  Bonaparte  did  not  like  to  remember 

*  The  Queen  of  Sweden  died  a  few  years  ago,  after  having  long  lived  in 
Paris,  in  the  Rue  d'Anjou,  Saint  Honore. 


20  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R&MUSAT. 

services  which  had  been  rendered  to  him,  and  Lucien  was  in 
the  habit  of  reminding  him  of  them  in  an  aggressive  manner 
during  their  frequent  altercations. 

While  he  was  in  Spain  he  became  very  intimate  with  the 
Prince  of  the  Peace,  and  assisted  to  arrange  the  treaty  of 
Badajoz,*  which  on  that  occasion  saved  Portugal  from  inva- 
sion. . 

He  received  a  sum  which  has  been  estimated  at  five  hun- 
dred millions  of  francs  as  a  reward  for  his  services.  This 
was  paid  partly  in  money,  and  partly  in  diamonds.  At  this 
time  he  also  formed  a  project  of  marriage  between  Bona- 
parte and  an  Infanta  of  Spain ;  but  Napoleon,  either  from 
affection  for  his  wife,  or  from  fear  of  exciting  the  suspicions 
of  the  republicans,  with  whom  he  was  still  keeping  on  terms, 
rejected  the  idea  of  this  marriage,  which  was  to  have  been 
concluded  through  the  agency  of  the  Prince  of  the  Peace. 

In  1790  Lucien  Bonaparte,  who  was  then  keeper  of  the 
military  stores  near  Toulon,  had  married  the  daughter  of  an 
innkeeper,  who  bore  him  two  daughters,  and  who  died  a  few 
years  later.  The  elder  of  these  two  girls  was  in  after  years 
recalled  to  France  by  the  Emperor,  who,  when  he  saw  his 
affairs  going  badly  in  Spain,  wished  to  treat  for  peace  with 
the  Prince  of  the  Asturias,  and  to  make  him  marry  this 
daughter  of  Lucien's.  But  the  young  girl,  who  was  placed 
under  her  grandmother's  care,  too  frankly  imparted  in  her 
letters  to  her  father  the  impression  she  received  at  her  uncle's 
Court ;  she  ridiculed  the  most  important  personages,  and  her 
letters,  having  been  opened,  so  irritated  the  Emperor  that  he 
sent  her  back  to  Italy. 

In  1803  Lucien,  now  a  widower  and  entirely  devoted  to 
a  life  of  pleasure,  to  which  I  might  indeed  give  a  harsher 
name,  fell  suddenly  in  love  with  Mme.  Jouberthon,  the  wife 
of  a  stock-broker.  Her  husband  was  promptly  sent  to  Saint 
Domingo,  where  he  died,  and  then  this  beautiful  and  clever 
woman  managed  to  make  Lucien  marry  her,  despite  the  op- 
*  June  6,  1801.— P.  R. 


PORTRAITS  AND  ANECDOTES.  21 

position  of  the  First  Consul.  An  open  rupture  took  place  be- 
tween the  two  brothers  on  that  occasion.  Lucien  left  France 
in  the  spring  of  1804,  and  established  himself  at  Rome. 

It  is  well  known  that  since  then  he  has  devoted  himself 
to  the  interests  of  the  Pope,  and  has  adroitly  secured  his 
protection ;  so  much  so  that  even  now,  although  he  was  re- 
called to  Paris  at  the  period  of  the  fatal  enterprise  of  1815, 
he  was  permitted  to  return,  after  the  second  restoration  of 
the  King,  to  the  Roman  States,  and  live  quietly  with  those 
members  of  his  family  who  had  retired  thither.  Lucien  was 
born  in  1775.* 

LOUIS   BONAPABTE. 

Louis  Bonaparte,  born  in  1778,  is  a  man  concerning 
whom  opinions  have  differed  widely.  His  assumption  of  a 
stricter  morality,  than  that  of  other  members  of  his  family, 
his  odd  opinions — based,  however,  on  daring  theories  rather 
than  on  solid  principles — have  deceived  the  world,  and  made 
for  him  a  reputation  apart  from  that  of  his  brothers.  With 
much  less  talent  than  either  Napoleon  or  Lucien,  he  has  a 
touch  of  romance  in  his  imagination,  which  he  manages  to 
combine  with  complete  hardness  of  heart.  Habitual  ill 
health  blighted  his  youth,  and  has  added  to  the  harsh  mel- 
ancholy of  his  disposition.  I  do  not  know  whether,  had  he 
been  left  to  himself,  the  ambition  so  natural  to  all  his  family 
would  have  been  developed  in  him;  but  he  has,  at  least, 
shown  upon  several  occasions  that  he  considered  himself  en- 
titled to  profit  by  the  chances  which  circumstances  have 
thrown  in  his  way.  He  has  been  applauded  for  wishing  to 
govern  Holland  in  the  interests  of  the  country,  in  spite  of 
his  brother's  projects,  and  his  abdication,  although  it  was  due 
to  a  whim  rather  than  to  generous  feeling,  has  certainly  done 
him  honor.  It  is,  after  all,  the  best  action  of  his  life. 

Louis  Bonaparte  is  essentially  egotistical  and  suspicious. 
In  the  course  of  these  Memoirs  he  will  become  better  known. 

*  Lucien  Bonaparte  died  at  Viterbo,  June  30,  1840.— P.  R. 


22  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R&MUSAT. 

Bonaparte  said  of  him  one  day,  "  His  feigned  virtues  give 
me  almost  as  much  trouble  as  Lucien's  vices."  He  has  re- 
tired to  Rome  since  the  downfall  of  his  family. 

MADAME  JOSEPHINE  BONAPARTE  AND  HER  FAMILY. 

The  Marquis  de  Beauharnais,  father  of  the  general  who 
was  the  first  husband  of  Mme.  Bonaparte,  having  been  em- 
ployed in  a  military  capacity  at  Martinique,  became  attached 
to  an  aunt  of  Mme.  Bonaparte's,  with  whom  he  returned  to 
France,  and  whom  he  married  in  his  old  age. 

This  aunt  brought  her  niece,  Josephine  de  la  Pagerie,  to 
France.  She  had  her  educated,  and  made  use  of  her  ascen- 
dancy over  her  aged  husband  to  marry  her  niece,  at  the  age 
of  fifteen  years,  to  young  Beauharnais,  her  stepson.  Al- 
though he  married  her  against  his  inclination,  there  is  no 
doubt  that  at  one  time  he  was  much  attached  to  his  wife ; 
for  I  have  seen  very  loving  letters  written  by  him  to  her 
when  he  was  in  garrison,  and  she  preserved  them  with  great 
care.  Of  this  marriage  were  born  Eugene  and  Hortense. 
When  the  Revolution  began,  I  think  that  Beauharnais's  love 
for  his  wife  had  cooled.  At  the  commencement  of  the  Ter- 
ror M.  de  Beauharnais  was  still  commanding  the  French 
armies,  and  had  no  longer  any  relations  with  his  wife. 

I  do  not  know  under  what  circumstances  she  became  ac- 
quainted with  certain  deputies  of  the  Convention,  but  she 
had  some  influence  with  them ;  and,  as  she  was  kind-hearted 
and  obliging,  she  used  it  to  do  as  much  good  to  as  many  peo- 
ple as  possible.  From  that  time  her  reputation  for  good 
conduct  was  very  much  damaged;  but  her  kindness,  her 
grace,  and  the  sweetness  of  her  manners  could  not  be  dis- 
puted. She  served  my  father's  interests  more  than  once 
with  Barrere  and  Tallien,  and  owed  to  this  my  mother's 
friendship.  In  1793  chance  placed  her  in  a  village  on  the 
outskirts  of  Paris,  where,  like  her,  we  were  passing  the  sum- 
mer. Our  near  neighborhood  led  to  some  intimacy.  I  re- 
member that  Hortense,  who  was  three  or  four  years  younger 


PORTRAITS  AND  ANECDOTES.  23 

than  I,  used  to  visit  me  in  my  room,  and,  while  amusing  her- 
self by  examining  my  little  trinkets,  she  would  tell  me  that 
all  her  ambition  for  the  future  was  to  be  the  owner  of  a  simi- 
lar treasure.  Unhappy  woman !  She  has  since  been  laden 
with  gold  and  diamonds,  and  how  has  she  not  groaned  under 
the  crushing  weight  of  the  royal  diadem ! 

In  those  evil  days  when  every  one  was  forced  to  seek  a 
place  of  safety  from  the  persecution  by  which  all  classes  of 
society  were  beset,  we  lost  sight  of  Mme.  de  Beauharnais. 
Her  husband,  being  suspected  by  the  Jacobins,  had  been 
thrown  into  prison  in  Paris,  and  condemned  to  death  by  the 
Revolutionary  Tribunal.  She  also  was  imprisoned,  but  es- 
caped the  guillotine,  which  preyed  on  all  without  distinction. 
Being  a  friend  of  the  beautiful  Mme.  Tallien,  she  was  intro- 
duced into  the  society  of  the  Directory,  and  was  especially 
favored  by  Barras.  Mme.  de  Beauharnais  had  very  little 
fortune,  and  her  taste  for  dress  and  luxury  rendered  her  de- 
pendent on  those  who  could  help  her  to  indulge  it.  With- 
out being  precisely  pretty,  she  possessed  many  personal 
charms.  Her  features  were  delicate,  her  expression  was 
sweet;  her  mouth  was  very  small,  and  concealed  her  bad 
teeth ;  her  complexion  was  rather  dark,  but  with  the  help  of 
red  and  white  skillfully  applied  she  remedied  that  defect ; 
her  figure  was  perfect ;  her  limbs  were  flexible  and  delicate  ; 
her  movements  were  easy  and  elegant.  La  Fontaine's  line 
could  never  have  been  more  fitly  applied  than  to  her  : 

"  Et  la  grace,  plus  belle  encore  que  la  beaut6." 

She  dressed  with  perfect  taste,  enhancing  the  beauty  of 
what  she  wore ;  and,  with  these  advantages  and  the  constant 
care  bestowed  upon  her  attire,  she  contrived  to  avoid  being 
eclipsed  by  the  youth  and  beauty  of  many  of  the  women  by 
whom  she  was  surrounded.  To  all  this,  as  I  have  already 
said,  she  added  extreme  kindness  of  heart,  a  remarkably  even 
temper,  and  great  readiness  to  forget  any  wrong  that  had 
been  done  to  her. 


24:  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R&MUSAT. 

She  was  not  a  person  of  remarkable  intellect.  A  Creole, 
and  frivolous,  her  education  had  been  a  good  deal  neglected ; 
but  she  recognized  her  deficiencies,  and  never  made  blunders 
in  conversation.  She  possessed  true  natural  tact ;  she  readily 
found  pleasant  things  to  say ;  her  memory  was  good — a  use- 
ful quality  for  those  in  high  position.  Unhappily,  she  was 
deficient  in  depth  of  feeling  and  elevation  of  mind.  She 
preferred  to  charm  her  husband  by  her  beauty,  rather  than 
the  influence  of  certain  virtues.  She  carried  complaisance 
to  excess  for  his  sake,  and  kept  her  hold  on  him  by  conces- 
sions which,  perhaps,  contributed  to  increase  the  contempt 
with  which  he  habitually  regarded  women.  She  might  have 
taught  him  some  useful  lessons;  but  she  feared  him,  and 
allowed  him  to  dictate  to  her  in  everything.  She  was 
changeable,  easy  to  move  and  easy  to  appease,  incapable  of 
prolonged  emotion,  of  sustained  attention,  of  serious  reflec- 
tion; and,  although  her  greatness  did  not  turn  her  head, 
neither  did  it  educate  her.  The  bent  of  her  character  led 
her  to  console  the  unhappy ;  but  she  could  only  dwell  on  the 
troubles  of  individuals — she  did  not  think  of  the  woes  of 
France.  The  genius  of  Bonaparte  overawed  her :  she  only 
criticised  him  in  what  concerned  herself  personally ;  in 
everything  else  she  respected  what  he  called  "  the  force  of 
his  destiny."  He  exerted  an  evil  influence  over  her,  for  he 
inspired  her  with  contempt  for  morality,  and  with  a  large 
share  of  his  own  characteristic  suspicion ;  and  he  taught  her- 
the  art  of  lying,  which  each  of  them  practiced  with  skill  and 
effect. 

It  is  said  that  she  was  the  prize  of  his  command  of  the 
army  of  Italy ;  she  has  often  assured  me  that  at  that  time 
Bonaparte  was  really  in  love  with  her.  She  hesitated  be- 
tween him,  General  Hoche,  and  M.  de  Caulaincourt,  who 
also  loved  her.  Bonaparte  prevailed.  I  know  that  my 
mother,  then  living  in  retirement  in  the  country,  was  much 
surprised  on  learning  that  the  widow  of  M.  de  Beauharnais 
was  about  to  marry  a  man  so  little  known  as  Bonaparte. 


PORTRAITS  AND  ANECDOTES.  35 

When  I  questioned  her  as  to  what  Bonaparte  was  like  in 
his  youth,  she  told  me  that  he  was  then  dreamy,  silent,  and 
awkward  in  the  society  of  women,  but  passionate  and  fasci- 
nating, although  rather  an  odd  person  in  every  way.  She 
charged  the  campaign  in  Egypt  with  having  changed  his 
temper,  and  developed  that  petty  despotism  from  which  she 
afterward  suffered  so  much. 

I  have  seen  letters  from  Napoleon  to  Mme.  Bonaparte, 
written  at  the  time  of  the  first  Italian  campaign.  She  ac- 
companied him  to  Italy,  but  he  sometimes  left  her  with  the 
rearguard  of  the  army,  until  a  victory  had  secured  the  safe- 
ty of  the  road.  These  epistles  are  very  singular.  The  writ- 
ing is  almost  illegible  ;  they  are  ill  spelt ;  the  style  is  strange 
and  confused.  But  there  is  in  them  such  a  tone  of  passion- 
ate feeling ;  the  expressions  are  so  animated,  and  at  the  same 
time  so  poetical ;  they  breathe  a  love  so  different  from  mere 
"  amours,"  that  there  is  no  woman  who  would  not  have  prized 
such  letters.  They  formed  a  striking  contrast  with  the  grace- 
ful, elegant,  and  measured  style  of  those  of  M.  de  Beauhar- 
nais.  How  strange  it  must  have  been  for  a  woman  to  find 
herself  one  of  the  moving  powers  of  the  triumphant  march 
of  an  army,  at  a  time  when  politics  alone  governed  the  ac- 
tions of  men !  On  the  eve  of  one  of  his  greatest  battles, 
Bonaparte  wrote :  "  I  am  far  from  you !  It  seems  to  me 
that  I  am  surrounded  by  the  blackest  night ;  I  need  the  lurid 
light  of  the  thunderbolts  which  we  are  about  to  hurl  upon 
our  enemies  to  dispel  the  darkness  into  which  your  absence 
has  thrown  me.  Josephine,  you  wept  when  I  parted  from 
you — you  wept !  At  that  thought  all  my  being  trembles. 
But  calm  yourself  :  "Wurmser  shall  pay  dearly  for  the  tears 
I  have  seen  you  shed."  And  on  the  morrow  "Wurmser  was 
beaten. 

The  enthusiasm  with  which  General  Bonaparte  was  re- 
ceived in  beautiful  Italy,  the  magnificence  of  the  fetes,  the 
fame  of  his  victories,  the  wealth  which  every  officer  might 
acquire  there,  the  unbounded  luxury  in  which  she  lived, 


26  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  REMUS  AT. 

accustomed  Mme.  Bonaparte  from  that  time  forth  to  all  the 
pomp  with  which  she  was  afterward  surrounded ;  and  she 
acknowledged  that  nothing  in  her  life  ever  equaled  the 
emotions  of  that  time,  when  love  came  (or  seemed  to  come) 
daily,  to  lay  at  her  feet  a  new  conquest  over  a  people  enrap- 
tured with  their  conqueror.  It  is,  however,  plain  from  these 
letters  that  Mme.  -Bonaparte,  in  Ijhe  midst  of  this  life  of 
triumph,  of  victory,  and  of  license,  gave  some  cause  for 
uneasiness  to  her  victorious  husband.  His  letters,  some- 
times sullen  and  sometimes  menacing,  reveal  the  torments 
of  jealousy;  and  they  abound  in  melancholy  reflections, 
which  betray  his  weariness  of  the  fleeting  delusions  of  life. 
It  may  have  been  that  these  misunderstandings,  which  out- 
raged the  first  very  keen  feelings  Bonaparte  had  ever  ex- 
perienced, had  a  bad  effect  upon  him,  and  hardened  him  by 
degrees.  Perhaps  he  would  have  been  a  better  man  if  he 
had  been  more  and  better  loved. 

When,  on  his  return  from  this  brilliant  campaign,  the 
conquering  general  was  obliged  to  exile  himself  to  Egypt,  to 
escape  from  the  growing  suspicion  of  the  Directory,  Mme. 
Bonaparte's  position  became  precarious  and  difficult.  Her 
husband  entertained  serious  doubts  of  her,  and  these  were 
prompted  by  Joseph  and  Lucien,  who  dreaded  the  powerful 
influence  that  she  might  exercise  through  her  son,  who  had 
accompanied  Bonaparte.  Her  extravagant  tastes  led  her 
into  reckless  expense,  and  she  was  harassed  by  debts  and 
duns. 

Before  leaving  France,  Bonaparte  had  directed  her  to 
purchase  an  estate ;  and  as  she  wished  to  live  in  the  neigh- 
borhood of  Saint  Germain,  where  her  daughter  was  being 
educated,  she  selected  Malmaison.  There  we  met  her  again, 
when  we  were  residing  for  some  months  at  the  chateau  of 
one  of  our  friends,  *  at  a  short  distance  from  Malmaison. 

*  Mme.  de  Vergennes  was  very  intimate  with  M.  Chanorier,  a  wealthy  and 
intelligent  man  living  at  Croissy,  on  the  bank  of  the  Seine,  and  who  was  one  of 
the  first  to  introduce  the  merino  sheep  into  France.  It  was  from  Croissy  that 


PORTRAITS  AND  ANECDOTES.  37 

Mme.  Bonaparte,  who  was  naturally  unreserved,  and  even 
indiscreet,  had  no  sooner  met  my  mother  again  than  she 
talked  to  her  very  freely  about  her  absent  husband,  about 
her  brothers-in-law — in  fact,  about  a  host  of  people  who 
were  utter  strangers  to  us.  Bonaparte  was  supposed  to  be 
almost  lost  to  France,  and  his  wife  was  neglected.  My 
mother  took  pity  on  her;  we  showed  her  some  attention, 
which  she  never  forgot.  At  that  time  I  was  seventeen  years 
ef  age,  and  I  had  been  married  one  year. 

It  was  at  Malmaison  that  Mme.  Bonaparte  showed  us  an 
immense  quantity  of  pearls,  diamonds,  and  cameos,  which  at 
that  time  constituted  the  contents  of  her  jewel-case.  Even 
at  that  time  it  might  have  figured  in  a  story  of  the  "  Arabian 
Nights,"  and  it  was  destined  to  receive  immense  accessions. 
Invaded  and  grateful  Italy  had  contributed  to  these  riches, 
and  the  Pope  also,  as  a  mark  of  his  appreciation  of  the  re- 
spect with  which  the  conqueror  treated  him  by  denying  him- 
self the  pleasure  of  planting  his  flag  upon  the  walls  of  Rome. 
The  reception-rooms  at  Malmaison  were  sumptuously  deco- 
rated with  pictures,  statues,  and  mosaics,  the  spoils  of  Italy, 
and  each  of  the  generals  who  figured  in  the  Italian  campaign 
exhibited  booty  of  the  same  kind. 

Although  she  was  surrounded  with  all  these  treasures, 
Mme.  Bonaparte  was  often  without  money  to  meet  her  every- 
day expenses ;  and,  to  get  out  of  this  difficulty,  she  trafficked 
in  her  influence  with  the  people  in  power  at  the  time,  and 
compromised  herself  by  entering  into  imprudent  relations. 
Dreadfully  embarrassed,  on  worse  terms  than  ever  with  her 
brothers-in-law,  supplying  too  much  reason  for  their  accusa- 
tions against  her,  and  no  longer  counting  on  the  return  of 
her  husband,  she  was  strongly  tempted  to  give  her  daughter 
in  marriage  to  the  son  of  Rewbell,  a  member  of  the  Direc- 
tory ;  but  Mile,  de  Beauharnais  would  not  consent,  and  her 

she  and  her  daughters  made  a  neighborly  visit  to  Malmaison,  and  resumed  with 
Mme.  Bonaparte  their  former  intimacy  with  Mme.  de  Beauharnais. 


28  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R&MUSAT. 

opposition  put  an  end  to  a  project  whose  execution  would 
doubtless  have  been  highly  displeasing  to  Bonaparte. 

Presently  a  rumor  of  Bonaparte's  arrival  at  Frej'us  arose. 
He  came  back  with  his  mind  full  of  the  evil  reports  that 
Lucien  had  repeated  to  him  in  his  letters.  His  wife,  on  hear- 
ing of  his  disembarkation,  set  out  to  join  him ;  she  missed 
him,  had  to  retrace  her  steps,  and  returned  to  the  house  in 
the  Rue  Chantereine  some  hours  after  his  arrival  there.  She 
descended  from  her  carriage  in  haste,  followed  by  her  son 
and  daughter,  and  ran  up  the  stairs  leading  to  his  room ;  but 
what  was  her  surprise  to  find  the  door  locked !  She  called  to 
Bonaparte,  and  begged  him  to  open  it.  He  replied  through  the 
door  that  it  should  never  again  be  opened  for  her.  Then  she 
wept,  fell  on  her  knees,  implored  him  for  her  sake  and  that 
of  her  two  children ;  but  all  was  profound  silence  around  her, 
and  several  hours  of  the  night  passed  over  her  in  this  dread- 
ful suspense.  At  last,  however,  moved  by  her  sobs  and  her 
perseverance,  Bonaparte  opened  the  door  at  about  four  o'clock 
in  the  morning,  and  appeared,  as  Mme.  Bonaparte  herself 
told  me,  with  a  stern  countenance,  which,  however,  betrayed 
that  he  too  had  been  weeping.  He  bitterly  reproached  her 
with  her  conduct,  her  forgetfulness  of  him,  all  the  real  or 
imaginary  sins  of  which  Lucien  had  accused  her,  and  con- 
cluded by  announcing  an  eternal  separation.  Then  turning 
to  Eugene  de  Beauharnais,  who  was  at  that  time  about  twenty 
years  old — "  As  for  you,"  he  said,  "  you  shall  not  bear  the 
burden  of  your  mother's  faults.  You  shall  be  always  my 
son ;  I  will  keep  you  with  me." 

"  No,  no,  General,"  replied  Eugene ;  "  I  must  share  the 
ill  fortune  of  my  mother,  and  from  this  moment  I  say  fare- 
well to  you." 

These  words  shook  Bonaparte's  resolution.  He  opened 
his  arms  to  Eugene,  weeping ;  his  wife  and  Hortense  knelt 
at  his  feet  and  embraced  his  knees ;  and,  soon  after,  all  was 
forgiven.  In  the  explanation  that  ensued,  Mme.  Bonaparte 
succeeded  in  clearing  herself  from  the  accusations  of  her 


PORTRAITS  AND  ANECDOTES.  29 

brother-in-law ;  and  Bonaparte,  then  burning  to  avenge  her, 
sent  for  Lucien  at  seven  o'clock  in  the  morning,  and  had  him, 
without  any  forewarning,  ushered  into  the  room  where  the 
husband  and  wife,  entirely  reconciled,  occupied  the  same  bed. 

From  that  time  Bonaparte  desired  his  wife  to  break  with 
Mme.  Tallien  and  all  the  society  of  the  Directory.  The  18th 
Brumaire  completely  severed  her  connection  with  those  indi- 
viduals. She  told  me  that  on  the  eve  of  that  important  day 
she  observed,  with  great  surprise,  that  Bonaparte  had  loaded 
two  pistols  and  placed  them  beside  his  bed.  On  her  ques- 
tioning him,  he  replied  that  a  certain  event  might  happen  in 
the  night  which  would  render  such  a  precaution  necessary. 
Then,  without  another  word,  he  lay  down,  and  slept  soundly 
until  the  next  morning. 

When  he  became  Consul,  the  gentle  and  gracious  quali- 
ties of  his  wife,  which  attracted  many  persons  to  his  Court 
whom  his  natural  rudeness  would  have  otherwise  kept  away, 
were  of  great  service  to  him.  To  Josephine  he  intrusted  the 
measures  to  be  taken  for  the  return  of  the  emigres.  Nearly 
all  the  "  erasures  "  *  passed  through  the  hands  of  Mme.  Bona- 
parte ;  she  was  the  first  link  that  united  the  French  nobility 
to  the  Consular  Government.  We  shall  learn  more  of  this 
in  the  course  of  these  Memoirs. 

Eugene  de  Beauharnais,  born  in  1780,  passed  through  all 
the  phases  of  a  sometimes  stormy  and  sometimes  brilliant 
life,  without  ever  forfeiting  his  title  to  general  esteem. 
Prince  Eugene,  sometimes  in  camp  with  his  father,  some- 
times in  all  the  leisure  and  luxury  of  his  mother's  house, 
was,  to  speak  correctly,  educated  nowhere.  His  natural  in- 
stinct led  toward  what  is  right ;  the  schooling  of  Bonaparte 
formed  but  did  not  pervert  him  ;  the  lessons  taught  him  by 
events — -all  these  were  his  instructors.  Mme.  Bonaparte  was 
incapable  of  giving  sound  advice ;  and  therefore  her  son,  who 
loved  her  sincerely,  perceived  very  early  in  his  career  that 
it  was  useless  to  consult  her. 

*  See  Appendix. 


30  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  RfiMUSAT. 

Prince  Eugene  did  not  lack  personal  attractions.  His 
figure  was  graceful ;  lie  was  skilled  in  all  bodily  exercises ; 
and  he  inherited  from  his  father  that  fine  manner  of  the  old 
French  gentleman,  in  which,  perhaps,  M.  de  Beauharnais 
himself  gave  him  his  earliest  lessons.  To  these  advantages 
he  added  simplicity  and  kindheartedness ;  he  was  neither 
vain  nor  presumptuous  ;  he  was  sincere  without  being  in- 
discreet, and  could  be  silent  when  silence  was  necessary. 
Prince  Eugene  had  not  much  natural  talent ;  his  imagination 
was  not  vivid,  and  his  feelings  were  not  keen.  He  was  al- 
ways obedient  to  his  stepfather  ;  and,  although  he  appre- 
ciated him  exactly,  and  was  not  mistaken  with  regard  to 
him,  he  never  hesitated  to  observe  the  strictest  fidelity  to 
him,  even  when  it  was  against  his  own  interests.  Never 
once  was  he  surprised  into  showing  any  sign  of  discontent, 
either  when  the  Emperor,  while  loading  his  own  family  with 
honors,  seemed  to  forget  him,  or  when  his  mother  was  re- 
pudiated. At  the  time  of  the  divorce  Eugene  maintained  a 
very  dignified  attitude. 

Eugene,  as  colonel  of  a  regiment,  was  beloved  by  his  sol- 
diers. In  Italy  he  was  held  in  high  honor.  The  sovereigns 
of  Europe  esteemed  him,  and  the  world  was  well  pleased 
that  his  fortunes  have  survived  those  of  his  family.  He  had 
the  good  fortune  to  marry  a  charming  princess,  who  never 
ceased  to  love  him,  and  whom  he  rendered  happy.  He  pos- 
sessed in  perfection  those  qualities  which  make  the  happi- 
ness of  home  life — sweet  temper,  and  that  natural  cheerful- 
ness which  rises  above  every  ill,  and  was  perhaps  due  to 
the  fact  that  he  was  never  profoundly  moved  by  anything. 
When,  however,  that  kind  of  indifference  toward  the  inter- 
ests of  other  people  is  also  displayed  in  one's  own  personal 
troubles,  it  may  fairly  be  called  philosophy. 

Hortense,  Prince  Eugene's  younger  sister  (she  was  born  in 
1783),  was,  I  think,  the  most  unhappy  person  of  our  time, 
and  the  least  formed  by  nature  to  be  so.  Cruelly  slandered 
by  the  Bonapartes,  who  hated  her,  included  in  the  accusa- 


PORTRAITS  AND  ANECDOTES.  31 

tions  which  the  public  delighted  to  bring  against  all  who  be- 
longed to  that  family,  she  was  not  strong  enough  to  contend 
against  such  a  combination  of  ills,  and  to  defy  the  calumnies 
that  blighted  her  life.* 

Mme.  Louis  Bonaparte,  like  her  mother  and  brother,  was 
not  remarkable  for  intellect ;  but,  like  them,  she  possessed 
tact  and  good  feeling,  and  she  was  more  high-minded  and 
imaginative  than  they.  Left  to  herself  in  her  youth,  she  es- 
caped the  contagion  of  the  dangerous  example  of  evil.  At 
Mme.  Campan's  select  and  elegant  boarding-school  she  ac- 
quired accomplishments  rather  than  education.  While  she 
was  young,  a  brilliant  complexion,  beautiful  hair,  and  a  fine 
figure  rendered  her  agreeable  to  look  upon;  but  she  lost 
her  teeth  early,  and  illness  and  sorrow  altered  her  features. 
Her  natural  instincts  were  good ;  but,  being  absolutely  igno- 
rant of  the  world  and  the  usages  of  society,  and  entirely  given 
up  to  ideal  notions  drawn  from  a  sphere  which  she  had  cre- 
ated for  herself,  she  was  unable  to  rule  her  life  by  those 
social  laws  which  do  not  indeed  preserve  the  virtue  of 
women,  but  which  procure  them  support  when  they  are  ac- 
cused, without  which  it  is  impossible  to  pass  through  the 

*  There  are  few  things  in  these  Memoirs  which  will  be  read  with  greater 
surprise  than  the  pages  relating  to  Queen  Hortense.  My  grandmother  lived  and 
died  in  the  conviction  that  in  speaking  thus  she  was  strictly  adhering  to  the 
truth.  The  contrary  opinion  has,  however,  prevailed  ;  and  it  has  been  confirmed 
by  the  conduct  of  her  son,  Napoleon  III.,  who  rendered  marked  honors  to  the 
Duke  de  Morny.  Very  likely  that,  as  often  happens,  all  was  true  according  to 
the  epoch — in  youth,  innocence,  and  sorrow ;  afterward,  consolation.  It  is  un- 
necessary to  say  that  on  this  point  I  preserve  the  exact  text  of  the  Memoirs,  as 
they  were  written  by  the  hand  of  their  author.  I  have  only  thought  it  right  to 
suppress  comments  of  an  opposite  nature  on  certain  ladies  of  the  Court.  The 
reader  will,  perhaps,  be  surprised  to  find  no  mention  in  these  portraits  of  the 
family  of  either  Queen  Caroline  or  Princess  Pauline  Bonaparte.  I  leave  out 
certain  matters  in  relation  to  them  which  have  no  bearing  on  the  Emperor  him- 
self. My  father  particularly  desired  that  the  text  of  his  mother's  Memoirs 
should  be  scrupulously  respected.  It  seemed  to  me,  however,  that  on  this  point 
I  might  fairly  depart  from  the  rules  of  strict  editing.  Habits,  tastes,  customs 
become  modified  by  time,  and  much  that  seemed  natural  to  a  clever  woman  in 
high  life  at  that  period  would  give  scandal  in  our  more  punctilious  day. 
6 


32      MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  REMUS  AT. 

world,  and  which  the  approbation  of  conscience  can  not  re- 
place. It  is  not  sufficient  to  lead  a  good  life  in  order  to 
appear  virtuous;  women  must  also  obey  those  rules  which 
society  has  made.  Mme.  Louis,  who  was  placed  in  circum- 
stances of  extreme  difficulty,  never  had  a  guide ;  she  under- 
stood her  mother,  and  could  not  venture  to  place  any  confi- 
dence in  her.  As  she  held  firmly  to  the  principles,  or  rather 
to  the  sentiments,  her  imagination  had  created,  she  was  at 
first  very  much  surprised  at  the  lapses  from  morality  in 
which  she  detected  the  women  by  whom  she  was  surrounded, 
and  was  still  more  surprised  when  she  found  that  these  faults 
were  not  always  the  result  of  love.  Her  marriage  cast  her 
on  the  mercy  of  the  most  tyrannical  of  husbands ;  she  be- 
came the  resigned  and  dejected  victim  of  ceaseless  and  un- 
remitting persecution,  and  sank  under  the  weight  of  her  sor- 
row. She  yielded  to  it  without  daring  to  complain,  and  it 
was  not  until  she  was  on  the  point  of  death  that  the  truth 
became  known.  I  knew  Mme.  Louis  Bonaparte  very  inti- 
mately, and  was  acquainted  with  all  the  secrets  of  her  do- 
mestic life.  I  have  always  believed  her  to  be  the  purest,  as 
she  was  the  most  unfortunate,  of  women. 

Her  only  consolation  was  in  her  tender  love  for  her 
brother ;  she  rejoiced  in  his  happiness,  his  success,  his  amia- 
ble temper.  How  many  times  have  I  heard  her  say,  "  I  only 
live  in  Eugene's  life ! " 

She  declined  to  marry  Kewbell's  son,  and  this  reasonable 
refusal  was  the  result  of  one  of  the  errors  of  her  imagination. 
From  her  earliest  youth  she  had  persuaded  herself  that  a 
woman,  if  she  would  be  virtuous  and  happy,  should  marry 
no  man  unless  she  loved  him  passionately.  Afterward,  when 
her  mother  wished  her  to  marry  the  Comte  de  Mun,  now  a 
peer  of  France,  she  again  refused  to  obey  her. 

M.  de  Mun  had  emigrated;  Mme.  Bonaparte  obtained 
permission  for  his  return.  He  came  back  to  a  considerable 
fortune,  and  asked  for  the  hand  of  Mile,  de  Beauharnais  in 
marriage.  Bonaparte,  then  First  Consul,  had  little  liking 


PORTRAITS  AND  ANECDOTES.  33 

for  this  union.  Mme.  Bonaparte  would,  however,  have  had 
her  own  way  about  it,  only  for  the  obstinate  resistance  of 
her  daughter.  Some  one  said  before  her  that  M.  de  Mun 
had  been,  while  in  Germany,  in  love  with  Mme.  de  Stael. 
That  celebrated  woman  was  in  the  imagination  of  the  young 
girl  a  sort  of  monster,  whom  it  was  impossible  to  know  with- 
out scandal  and  without  taint.  M.  de  Mun  became  odious  to 
her,  and  thus  he  missed  a  great  match  and  the  terrible  down- 
fall that  was  to  ensue.  It  was  a  strange  accident  of  destiny, 
thus  to  have  missed  being  a  prince,  perhaps  a  king,  and  then 
dethroned. 

A  little  while  after,  Duroc,  then  one  of  the  Consul's 
aides-de-camp,  and  in  high  favor  with  him,  fell  in  love  with 
Hortense.  She  was  not  insensible  to  his  passion,  and  thought 
she  had  at  length  found  that  other  half  of  her  being  which 
she  sought  for.  Bonaparte  was  in  favor  of  the  marriage ; 
but  this  time  Mme.  Bonaparte  was  inflexible.  "  My  daugh- 
ter," she  said,  "  must  marry  a  gentleman  or  a  Bonaparte." 
Then  Louis  was  proposed.  He  had  no  liking  for  Hortense, 
he  detested  the  Beauharnais  family,  and  despised  his  sister-in- 
law  :  but,  as  he  was  taciturn,  he  was  supposed  to  be  amiable ; 
as  he  was  severe  in  his  judgments,  he  was  supposed  to  be  a 
good  man.  Mme.  Louis  has  since  told  me  that  when  she 
first  heard  of  this  arrangement  she  suffered  terribly.  Not 
only  was  she  forbidden  to  think  of  the  man  she  loved,  but 
she  was  also  to  be  given  to  another,  whom  she  instinctively 
distrusted.  However,  as  this  marriage  was  in  accordance 
with  her  mother's  wishes,  as  it  would  cement  the  family  ties, 
and  might  advance  her  brother's  interests,  she  yielded  her- 
self a  submissive  victim ;  nay,  she  did  even  more.  Her  im- 
agination was  full  of  the  duties  imposed  on  her ;  she  deter- 
mined to  make  every  sort  of  sacrifice  to  the  wishes  of  a  hus- 
band whom  she  had  the  misfortune  not  to  love.  Too  sincere 
and  too  reserved  to  feign  sentiments  she  did  not  feel,  she  was 
gentle,  submissive,  full  of  deference,  and  more  anxious  per- 
haps to  please  him  than  if  she  had  loved  him.  The  false  and 


34  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  BfiMUSAT. 

suspicious  disposition  of  Louis  Bonaparte  led  him  to  regard 
the  gentle  deference  of  his  wife  as  affectation  and  coquetry. 
"  She  practices  on  me,"  he  said,  "  to  deceive  me."  He  be- 
lieved that  her  conduct  was  dictated  by  the  counsels  of  her 
experienced  mother ;  he  repelled  the  efforts  she  made  to 
please  him,  and  treated  her  with  rude  contempt.  Nor  was 
this  all.  He  actually  divulged  to  Mme.  Louis  all  the  accu- 
sations which  had  been  brought  against  her  mother,  and, 
after  having  gone  as  far  in  that  direction  as  he  could  go, 
he  signified  his  pleasure  that  confidential  relations  between 
his  wife  and  her  mother  should  cease.  He  added,  "You 
are  now  a  Bonaparte.  Our  interests  should  be  yours ; 
those  of  your  own  family  no  longer  concern  you."  He  ac- 
companied this  cruel  notification  with  insulting  threats,  and 
a  coarse  expression  of  his  disdainful  opinion  of  women ;  he 
enumerated  the  precautions  he  meant  to  take  in  order,  as  he 
said,  to  escape  the  common  fate  of  all  husbands,  and  declared 
that  he  would  not  be  the  dupe  either  of  her  attempts  to  es- 
cape his  vigilance  or  of  the  tricks  of  pretended  docility  by 
which  she  might  hope  to  win  him  over. 

The  effect  of  such  a  declaration  upon  a  young  woman 
full  of  fancies  may  easily  be  conceived.  She  conducted 
herself,  however,  as  an  obedient  wife,  and  for  many  years 
only  her  sadness  and  her  failing  health  betrayed  her  suffer- 
ings. Her  husband,  who  was  hard  and  capricious,  and,  like 
all  the  Bonapartes,  selfish — worn  and  embittered  besides  by 
a  painful  disease  which  he  had  contracted  during  the  Egyp- 
tian campaign — set  no  limit  to  his  exactions.  As  he  was 
afraid  of  his  brother,  while  at  the  same  time  he  wanted  to 
keep  his  wife  away  from  Saint  Cloud,  he  ordered  her  to  say 
it  was  by  her  own  wish  that  she  seldom  went  thither,  and 
forbade  her  to  remain  there  a  single  night,  no  matter  how 
much  her  mother  might  press  her  to  do  so.  Mme.  Louis 
became  pregnant  very  soon  after  her  marriage.  The  Bona- 
partes and  Mme.  Murat,  who  were  displeased  at  this  mar- 
riage, because,  as  Joseph's  children  were  girls,  they  foresaw 


PORTRAITS  AND  ANECDOTES.  35 

that  a  son  of  Louis,  who  would  also  be  a  grandson  of  Mme. 
Bonaparte,  would  be  the  object  of  natural  interest,  spread 
the  outrageous  report  that  this  pregnancy  was  the  result  of 
an  intimacy  between  the  First  Consul  and  his  stepdaughter, 
with  the  connivance  of  Josephine  herself.  The  public  was 
quite  ready  to  believe  this  scandalous  falsehood,  and  Mme. 
Murat  repeated  it  to  Louis,  who,  whether  he  believed  it  or 
not,  made  it  a  pretext  for  every  kind  of  conjugal  tyranny. 
The  narrative  of  his  cruelty  to  his  wife  would  lead  me  too 
far  at  present ;  I  shall  return  to  the  subject  hereafter.  Her 
servants  were  employed  as  spies  upon  her ;  the  most  trifling 
notes  addressed  to  or  written  by  her  were  opened ;  every 
friendship  was  prohibited;  Louis  was  jealous  even  of  Eu- 
gene. Scenes  of  violence  were  frequent;  nothing  was 
spared  her.  Bonaparte  was  not  slow  to  perceive  this  state 
of  affairs,  but  he  was  grateful  to  Mme.  Louis  for  her  silence, 
which  put  him  at  his  ease,  and  exempted  him  from  the  ne- 
cessity of  interference.  He,  who  never  esteemed  women, 
always  professed  positive  veneration  for  Hortense,  and  the 
manner  in  which  he  spoke  of  and  acted  toward  her  is  a  for- 
mal contradiction  of  the  accusations  which  were  brought 
against  her.  In  her  presence  his  language  was  always  care- 
ful and  decent.  He  often  appealed  to  hef  to  arbitrate  be- 
tween his  wife  and  himself,  and  he  took  rebukes  from  her 
that  he  would  not  have  listened  to  patiently  from  any  one 
else.  "  Hortense,"  he  said  more  than  once,  "  forces  me  to 
believe  in  virtue." 


BOOK   I. 


CHAPTER  I. 

(1S02-18030) 

Family  affairs — My  first  evening  at  Saint  Cloud—  Grontfrtu  Moreau — M.  de  Re*musat 
is  made  Prefect,  and  I,  Lady  of  the  Palace — Habile  of  the  First  Consul  and  of 
Mme.  Bonaparte — M.  de  Talleyrand — The  iamily  of  the  First  Consul — Miles. 
Georges  and  Duchesnois— Mme.  Bonaparcevs  jealousy. 

NOTWITHSTANDING  the  date  of  the  year  in  which  I  under- 
take this  narrative,  I  shall  not  seek  to  excuse  the  motives 
which  led  my  husband  to  attach  himself  to  the  person  of 
Bonaparte,  but  shall  simply  explain  them.  In  political 
matters  justifications  are  worth  nothing.  Certain  persons, 
having  returned  to  France  only  three  years  ago,  or  having 
taken  no  part  in  public  affairs  before  that  epoch,  have  pro- 
nounced a  sort  of  anathema  against  those  among  our  fellow 
citizens  who  for  twenty  years  have  not  held  completely 
aloof  from  passing  events.  If  it  be  represented  to  them 
that  nobody  pretends  to  pronounce  whether  they  were  right 
or  wrong  to  indulge  in  their  long  sleep,  and  that  they  are 
merely  asked  to  remain  equally  neutral  on  a  similar  question, 
they  reject  such  a  proposition  with  all  the  strength  of  their 
present  position  of  vantage ;  they  deal  out  unsparing  and 
most  ungenerous  blame,  for  there  is  now  no  risk  in  under- 
taking the  duties  on  which  they  pride  themselves.  And 
yet,  when  a  revolution  is  in  progress,  who  can  flatter  himself 
that  he  has  always  adopted  the  right  course  ?  Who  among 
us  has  not  been  influenced  by  circumstances  ?  Who,  indeed, 


FAMILY  AFFAIRS.  37 

can  venture  to  throw  the  first  stone,  without  fear  lest  it  re- 
coil upon  himself  ?  Citizens  of  the  same  country,  all  more 
or  less  hurt  by  the  blows  they  have  given  and  received, 
ought  to  spare  each  other — they  are  more  closely  bound  to- 
gether than  they  think ;  and  when  a  Frenchman  mercilessly 
runs  down  another  Frenchman,  let  him  take  care — he  is  put- 
ting weapons  to  use  against  them  both  into  the  hands  of  the 
foreigner. 

"Not  the  least  evil  of  troubled  times  is  that  bitter  spirit  of 
criticism  which  produces  mistrust,  and  perhaps  contempt,  of 
what  is  called  public  opinion.  The  tumult  of  passion  enables 
every  one  to  defy  it.  Men  live  for  the  most  part  so  much 
outside  of  themselves,  that  they  have  few  opportunities  of  con- 
sulting their  conscience.  In  peaceful  times,  and  for  common 
ordinary  actions,  the  judgments  of  the  world  replace  it  well 
enough;  but  how  is  it  possible  to  submit  to  them,  when 
they  are  ready  to  deal  death  to  those  who  would  bow  to 
them  ?  It  is  safest,  then,  to  rely  on  that  conscience  which 
one  can  never  question  with  impunity.  Neither  my  hus- 
band's conscience  nor  my  own  reproaches  him  or  me.  The 
entire  loss  of  his  fortune,  the  experience  of  facts,  the  march 
of  events,  a  moderate  and  legitimate  desire  for  easier  circum- 
stances, led  M.  de  Remusat  to  seek  a  place  of  some  kind  in 
1802.  To  profit  by  the  repose  that  Bonaparte  had  given  to 
France,  and  to  rely  on  the  hopes  he  inspired,  was,  no  doubt, 
to  deceive  ourselves,  but  we  did  so  in  common  with  all  the 
rest  of  the  world. 

Unerring  prevision  is  given  to  very  few ;  and  if,  after 
his  second  marriage,  Bonaparte  had  maintained  peace,  and 
had  employed  that  portion  of  his  army  which  he  did  not 
disband  to  line  our  frontiers,  who  is  there  that  would  have 
dared  to  doubt  the  duration  of  his  power  and  the  strength 
of  his  rights  ?  At  that  time  both  his  power  and  his  rights 
seemed  to  have  acquired  the  force  of  legitimacy.  Bonaparte 
reigned  over  France  with  the  consent  of  France.  That  fact 
only  blind  hatred  or  foolish  pride  can  now  attempt  to  deny. 


38  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  RfiMUSAT. 

He  reigned  for  our  misfortune  and  for  our  glory :  the  alli- 
ance of  those  two  words  is,  in  the  present  state  of  society, 
more  natural  than  it  seems,  at  least  when  military  glory  is  in 
question.  When  he  became  Consul,  people  breathed  freely. 
At  first  he  won  public  confidence ;  when,  afterward,  causes 
of  disquiet  arose,  the  country  was  already  committed  to  him. 
At  last  he  frightened  all  the  minds  who  had  believed  in  him, 
and  led  true  citizens  to  desire  his  fall,  even  at  the  risk  of  loss 
to  themselves.  This  is  the  history  of  M.  de  Kemusat  and 
myself ;  there  is  nothing  humiliating  in  it.  We  too  were  re- 
lieved and  confident  when  the  country  had  breathing  space, 
and  afterward  we  desired  its  deliverance  before  all  things. 

]$To  one  will  ever  know  what  I  suffered  during  the  later 
years  of  Bonaparte's  tyranny.  It  would  be  impossible  for 
me  to  describe  the  absolute  sincerity  with  which  I  longed 
for  the  return  of  the  King,  who  would,  as  I  firmly  believed, 
restore  peace  and  liberty  to  us.  I  foresaw  all  my  personal 
losses ;  and  M.  de  Remusat  foresaw  them  even  more  clearly 
than  I  did.  That  which  we  desired  would  ruin  the  fortune 
of  our  children.  But  the  loss  of  that  fortune,  which  we 
could  have  preserved  only  by  the  sacrifice  of  our  convictions, 
did  not  cost  us  a  regret.  The  ills  of  France  cried  too  loud 
then — shame  to  those  who  would  not  listen  to  them !  We 
served  Bonaparte,  we  even  loved  and  admired  him ;  and  it 
costs  me  nothing  to  make  this  avowal.  It  seems  to  me  it  is 
never  painful  to  avow  a  genuine  feeling.  I  am  not  at  all 
embarrassed  because  the  opinions  I  held  at  one  time  are  op- 
posed to  those  which  I  held  at  another ;  I  am  not  incapable 
of  being  mistaken.  I  know  what  I  have  felt,  and  I  have 
always  felt  it  sincerely ;  that  is  sufficient  for  God,  for  my 
son,  for  my  friends,  for  myself. 

My  present  task  is,  however,  a  difficult  one,  for  I  must 
go  back  in  search  of  a  number  of  impressions  which  were 
strong  and  vivid  when  I  received  them,  but  which  now,  like 
ruined  buildings  devastated  by  fire,  have  no  longer  any  con- 
nection one  with  another. 


MY  FIRST  EVENING  AT  SAINT  CLOUD.  39 

At  the  commencement  of  these  Memoirs  I  shall  pass  as 
briefly  as  possible  over  all  that  is  merely  personal  to  our- 
selves, up  to  the  time  of  our  introduction  to  the  Court  of 
Bonaparte ;  afterward  I  shall  perhaps  revert  to  still  earlier 
recollections.  A  woman  can  not  be  expected  to  relate  the 
political  life  of  Bonaparte.  If  he  was  so  reserved  with  those 
who  surrounded  him  that  persons  in  the  next  room  to  him 
were  often  ignorant  of  events  which  they  would  indeed  learn 
by  going  into  Paris,  but  could  only  comprehend  fully  by 
transporting  themselves  out  of  France,  how  much  more  im- 
possible would  it  have  been  for  me,  young  as  I  was  when  I 
made  my  entry  into  Saint  Cloud,  and  during  the  first  years 
that  I  lived  there,  to  do  more  than  seize  upon  isolated  facts 
at  long  intervals  of  time  ?  I  shall  record  what  I  saw,  or 
thought  I  saw,  and  will  do  my  best  to  make  my  narrative  as 
accurate  as  it  is  sincere. 

I  was  twenty-two  years  old  when  I  became  lady-in-waiting 
to  Mine.  Bonaparte.  I  was  married  at  sixteen  years  of  age, 
and  had  previously  been  perfectly  happy  in  a  quiet  life,  full 
of  home  affections.  The  convulsions  of  the  Revolution,  the 
execution  of  my  father  in  1794,  the  loss  of  our  fortune,  and 
my  mother's  love  of  retirement,  kept  me  out  of  the  gay 
world,  of  which  I  knew  and  desired  to  know  nothing.  I 
was  suddenly  taken  from  this  peaceful  solitude  to  act  a 
part  upon  the  stage  of  history ;  and,  without  having  passed 
through  the  intermediate  stage  of  society,  I  was  much 
affected  by  so  abrupt  a  transition,  and  my  character  has 
never  lost  the  impression  it  then  received.  I  dearly  loved 
my  husband  and  my  mother,  and  in  their  society  I  had  been 
accustomed  to  follow  the  impulses  of  my  feelings.  In  the 
Bonaparte  household  I  interested  myself  only  in  what  moved 
me  strongly.  I  never  in  my  life  could  occupy  myself  with 
the  trifles  of  what  is  called  the  great  world. 

My  mother  had  brought  me  up  most  carefully ;  my  edu- 
cation was  finished  under  the  superintendence  of  my  husband, 
who  was  a  highly  cultivated  man,  and  older  than  I  by  sixteen 


4:0  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  RfiMUSAT. 

years.  I  was  naturally  grave,  a  tendency  which  in  women  is 
always  allied  to  enthusiasm.  Thus,  during  the  early  part  of 
my  residence  with  Mme.  Bonaparte  and  her  husband,  I  was 
full  of  the  sentiments  which  I  considered  due  to  them.  Their 
well-known  characters,  and  what  I  have  already  related  of 
their  domestic  life,  rendered  this  a  sure  preparation  for  many 
mistakes,  and  certainly  I  did  not  fail  to  make  them. 

I  have  already  mentioned  our  friendship  with  Mme. 
Bonaparte  during  the  expedition  to  Egypt.  After  that  we 
lost  sight  of  her,  until  the  time  when  my  mother,  having  ar- 
ranged a  marriage  for  my  sister  with  a  relative  of  ours,*  who 
had  returned  secretly,  but  was  still  included  in  the  list  of  the 
proscribed,  addressed  herself  to  Mme.  Bonaparte  in  order  to 
obtain  his  "  erasure."  f  The  matter  was  readily  arranged. 
Mme.  Bonaparte,  who  was  then  endeavoring,  with  much  tact 
and  kindness,  to  win  over  persons  of  a  certain  class  who  still 
held  aloof  from  her  husband,  begged  that  my  mother  and  M. 
de  Remusat  would  visit  her  one  evening,  in  order  to  return 
thanks  to  the  First  Consul.  It  was  not  possible  to  refuse, 
and  accordingly,  one  evening,  shortly  after  Bonaparte  had 
taken  up  his  abode  there,  we  went  to  the  Tuileries.  J  His 
wife  told  me  afterward  that  on  the  first  night  of  their  sojourn 
in  the  palace,  he  said  to  her,  laughing,  "  Come,  little  Creole, 
get  into  the  bed  of  your  masters." 

"We  found  Bonaparte  in  the  great  drawing-room  on  the 
ground  floor ;  he  was  seated  on  a  sofa.  Beside  him  I  saw 
General  Moreau,  with  whom  he  appeared  to  be  in  close  con- 
versation. At  that  period  they  were  still  trying  to  get  on 

*  M.  Charles  de  Ganay,  son  of  a  sister  of  M.  Charles  Gravier  de  Yergcnncs, 
and  first  cousin  of  the  author  of  these  Memoirs.  He  was  a  deputy  and  colonel 
of  the  Royal  Guard  under  the  Restoration.  I  do  not  know  what  prevented  his 
marriage  with  Mile.  Alix  de  Vergennes,  who  shortly  after  married  General  Nan- 
souty.  The  friendship  between  the  two  branches  of  the  family  was  not  disturbed 
by  this  affair,  and  it  is  happily  perpetuated. — P.  R. 

f  See  Appendix. 

t  It  was  on  the  19th  of  February,  1800  (30th  Pluviose,  year  8),  that  the  First 
Consul  took  possession  of  the  Tuileries. — P.  B. 


GENERAL  MOREAU.  41 

together.  A  very  amiable  speech  of  Bonaparte's,  of  a  grace- 
ful kind  unusual  with  him,  was  much  talked  of.  He  had 
had  a  superb  pair  of  pistols  made,  with  the  names  of  all 
Moreau's  battles  engraved  on  the  handles  in  gold  letters. 
"  You  must  excuse  their  not  being  more  richly  ornamented," 
said  Bonaparte,  presenting  them  to  him ;  "  the  names  of  your 
victories  took  up  all  the  space." 

There  were  in  the  drawing-room  ministers,  generals,  and 
ladies.  Among  the  latter,  almost  all  young  and  pretty,  were 
Mme.  Louis  Bonaparte ;  *  Mme.  Murat,  who  was  recently 
married,  and  who  struck  me  as  very  charming ;  and  Mme. 
Marat,  who  was  paying  her  wedding  visit,  and  was  at  that 
time  perfectly  beautiful.  Mme.  Bonaparte  received  her 
company  with  perfect  grace ;  she  was  dressed  tastefully  in  a 
revived  antique  style  which  was  the  fashion  of  the  day. 
Artists  had  at  that  time  a  good  deal  of  influence  on  the  cus- 
toms of  society. 

Bonaparte  rose  when  we  courtesied  to  him,  and  after  a 
few  vague  words  reseated  himself,  and  took  no  more  notice 
of  the  ladies  who  were  in  the  room.  I  confess  that,  on  this 
occasion,  I  was  less  occupied  with  him  than  with  the  luxury, 
the  elegance,  and  the  magnificence  on  which  my  eyes  rested 
for  the  first  time. 

From  that  time  forth  we  made  occasional  visits  to  the 
Tuileries ;  and  after  a  while  it  was  suggested  to  us,  and  we 
took  to  the  idea,  that  M.  de  Remusat  might  fill  some  post, 
which  would  restore  us  to  the  comfort  of  which  the  loss  of 
our  fortune  had  deprived  us.  M.  de  Remusat,  having  been 
a  magistrate  before  the  Revolution,  would  have  preferred  oc- 
cupation of  a  legal  character.  He  would  not  grieve  me  by 
separating  me  from  my  mother  and  taking  me  away  from 
Paris,  and  therefore  he  was  disposed  to  ask  for  a  place  in  the 
Council  of  State,  and  to  avoid  prefectures.  But  then  we 
really  knew  nothing  of  the  structure  and  composition  of  the 

*  Hortense  de  Beauharnais  had  married  Louis  Bonaparte  on  the  4th  of  Janu- 
ary, 1802. 


42  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R&MUSAT. 

Government.  My  mother  had  mentioned  our  position  to 
Mme.  Bonaparte,  who  had  taken  a  liking  to  me,  and  was 
also  pleased  with  my  husband's  manners,  and  it  occurred  to 
her  that  she  might  place  us  near  herself.  Just  at  this  time 
my  sister,  who  had  not  married  the  cousin  whom  I  have  men- 
tioned, married  M.  de  Nansouty,  a  general  of  brigade,  the 
nephew  of  Mme.  de  Montesson,  and  a  man  very  much  es- 
teemed in  the  army  and  in  society.  This  marriage  strength- 
ened our  connection  with  the  Consular  Government,  and  a 
month  afterward  Mme.  Bonaparte  told  my  mother  that  she 
hoped  before  long  M.  de  Remusat  would  be  made  a  Prefect 
of  the  Palace.  I  will  pass  over  in  silence  the  sentiments 
with  which  this  news  was  received  in  the  family.  For  my 
own  part,  I  was  exceedingly  frightened.  M.  de  Remusat 
was  resigned  rather  than  pleased ;  and,  as  he  is  a  particularly 
conscientious  man,  he  applied  himself  to  all  the  minute  de- 
tails of  his  new  occupation  immediately  after  his  nomination, 
which  soon  followed.  Shortly  afterward  I  received  the  fol- 
lowing letter  from  General  Duroc,  Governor  of  the  Palace : 

"  MADAME  :  The  First  Consul  has  nominated  you  to  at- 
tend upon  Mme.  Bonaparte,  in  doing  the  honors  of  the  pal- 
ace. His  personal  knowledge  of  your  character  and  of  your 
principles  satisfies  him  that  you  will  acquit  yourself  of  this 
duty  with  the  politeness  which  distinguishes  French  ladies, 
and  with  dignity  such  as  the  Government  requires.  I  am 
happy  to  have  been  made  the  medium  of  announcing  to  you 
this  mark  of  his  esteem  and  confidence. 

"  Receive,  madame,  my  respectful  homage." 

Thus  did  we  find  ourselves  installed  at  this  singular  Court. 
Although  Bonaparte  would  have  been  angry  if  any  one  had 
seemed  to  doubt  the  sincerity  of  his  utterances,  which  were 
at  this  period  entirely  republican,  he  introduced  some  novel- 
ty into  his  manner  of  life  every  day,  which  tended  to  give 
the  place  of  his  abode  more  and  more  resemblance  to  the 


HABITS  OF  THE  FIRST  CONSUL.  4.3 

palace  of  a  sovereign.  He  liked  display,  provided  it  did  not 
interfere  with  his  own  particular  habits ;  therefore  he  laid 
the  weight  of  ceremonial  on  those  who  surrounded  him.  He 
believed  also  that  the  French  are  attracted  by  the  glitter  of 
external  pomp.  He  was  very  simple  in  his  own  attire,  but 
he  required  his  officers  to  wear  magnificent  uniforms.  He 
had  already  established  a  marked  distance  between  himself 
and  the  two  other  Consuls ;  and  just  as,  although  he  used  the 
preamble,  "By  order  of  the  Consuls,"  etc.,  in  the  acts  of 
government,  his  own  signature  only  was  placed  at  the  end, 
so  he  held  his  court  alone,  either  at  the  Tuileries  or  at  Saint 
Cloud ;  he  received  the  ambassadors  with  the  ceremonial  used 
by  kings,  and  always  appeared  in  public  attended  by  a  nu- 
merous guard,  while  he  allowed  his  colleagues  only  two 
grenadiers  before  their  carriages;  and  finally  he  began  to 
give  his  wife  rank  in  the  state. 

At  first  we  found  ourselves  in  a  somewhat  difficult  posi- 
tion, which,  nevertheless,  had  its  advantages.  Military  glory 
and  the  rights  it  confers  were  all-in-all  to  the  generals  and 
aides-de-camp  who  surrounded  Bonaparte.  They  seemed  to 
think  that  every  distinction  belonged  exclusively  to  them. 
The  Consul,  however,  who  liked  conquest  of  all  kinds,  and 
whose  design  was  to  gain  over  to  himself  all  classes  of  society, 
made  his  Court  pleasant  to  persons  belonging  to  other  profes- 
sions. Besides  this,  M.  de  Remusat,  who  was  a  man  of  in- 
tellect, of  remarkable  learning,  and  superior  to  his  colleagues 
in  conversational  powers,  was  soon  distinguished  by  his  mas- 
ter, who  was  quick  at  discovering  qualities  which  might  be 
useful  to  himself.  Bonaparte  was  glad  that  persons  in  his 
service  should  know,  for  his  purposes,  things  of  which  he 
was  ignorant.  He  found  that  my  husband  knew  all  about 
certain  customs  which  he  wanted  to  reestablish,  and  was  a 
safe  authority  on  matters  of  etiquette  and  the  habits  of  good 
society.  He  briefly  indicated  his  projects,  was  at  once  un- 
derstood, and  as  promptly  obeyed.  This  unusual  manner  of 
pleasing  him  at  first  gave  some  offense  to  the  military  men. 


44  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R&MUSAT. 

They  foresaw  that  they  would  no  longer  be  the  only  persons 
in  favor,  and  that  they  would  be  required  to  alter  the  rough 
manners  which  did  well  enough  for  camps  and  fields  of  bat- 
tle ;  therefore  our  presence  displeased  them.  For  my  own 
part,  although  I  was  so  young,  I  had  more  ease  of  manner 
than  their  wives.  Most  of  my  companions  were  ignorant  of 
the  world,  timid  and  silent,  and  they  were  either  shy  or 
frightened  in  the  presence  of  the  First  Consul.  As  for  me, 
I  was,  as  I  have  already  said,  very  quick  and  lively,  easily 
moved  by  novelty,  fond  of  intellectual  pleasures,  interested 
in  observing  so  many  persons,  all  unknown  to  me ;  and  I 
found  favor  with  my  new  sovereign,  because,  as  I  have  said 
elsewhere,  I  took  pleasure  in  listening  to  him.  And  then, 
Mme.  Bonaparte  liked  me,  because  she  herself  had  chosen 
me ;  she  was  pleased  that  she  had  been  able  to  attach  a  per- 
son of  good  family  to  herself,  and  that  through  the  medium 
of  my  mother,  whom  she  respected  highly.  She  trusted  me, 
and  I  was  attached  to  her,  so  that  before  long  she  confided  all 
her  secrets  to  me,  and  I  received  them  with  discretion.  Al- 
though I  might  have  been  her  daughter,*  I  was  often  able  to 
give  her  good  advice,  because  the  habits  of  a  secluded  and 
strict  life  make  one  take  a  serious  view  of  things.  My  hus- 
band and  I  were  soon  placed  in  so  prominent  a  position  that 
we  had  to  secure  forgiveness  for  it.  We  obtained  that  posi- 
tion almost  entirely  by  preserving  our  simple  ways,  by  keep- 
ing within  the  bounds  of  politeness,  and  by  avoiding  every- 
thing which  might  lead  to  the  suspicion  that  we  wanted  to 
trade  on  the  favor  we  were  in. 

M.  de  Kemusat  lived  in  a  simple  and  kindly  fashion  in 
the  midst  of  this  warlike  Court.  As  for  me,  I  was  fortu- 
nate enough  to  hold  my  own  without  offense,  and  I  put  for- 
ward no  pretension  distasteful  to  other  women.  The  greater 

*  The  Empress  Josephine  was  born  at  Martinique  in  1763.  She  married  M. 
de  Beauharnais  in  1779,  and  separated  from  him  in  1783.  After  the  death  of 
her  husband  she  was  married  (civilly)  to  General  Bonaparte,  on  the  9th  of 
March,  1796.  She  died  on  the  29th  of  May,  1814.— P.  K. 


HABITS  OF  THE  FIRST  CONSUL.  45 

number  of  my  companions  were  much  handsomer  than  I — 
some  of  them  were  very  beautiful ;  and  they  were  all  su- 
perbly dressed.  My  face,  which  had  no  beauty  but  that  of 
youth,  and  the  habitual  simplicity  of  my  attire,  satisfied 
them  that  in  several  ways  they  were  superior  to  me ;  and  it 
soon  seemed  as  if  we  had  made  a  tacit  compact  that  they 
should  charm  the  eyes  of  the  First  Consul  when  we  were  in 
his  presence,  and  that  I  should  endeavor,  as  far  as  lay  in  my 
power,  to  interest  his  mind.  As  I  have  already  said,  to  do 
that  one  had  only  to  be  a  good  listener. 

Political  ideas  rarely  enter  into  the  head  of  a  woman  at 
twenty-two.  I  was  at  that  time  quite  without  any  kind  of 
party  spirit.  I  never  reasoned  on  the  greater  or  less  right 
which  Bonaparte  had  to  the  power  of  which  every  one  de- 
clared that  he  made  a  good  use.  M.  de  Remusat,  who  be- 
lieved in  him,  as  did  nearly  the  whole  of  France,  was  full  of 
the  hopes  which  at  that  time  seemed  to  be  well  founded. 
All  classes,  outraged  and  disgusted  by  the  horrors  of  the 
Revolution,  and  grateful  to  the  Consular  Government  which 
preserved  us  from  the  Jacobite  reaction,  looked  upon  its 
coming  into  power  as  a  new  era  for  the  country.  The  trials 
of  liberty  that  had  been  made  over  and  over  again  had  in- 
spired a  very  natural,  though  not  very  reasonable,  aversion 
to  it ;  for,  in  truth,  liberty  always  disappeared  when  its  name 
was  used  merely  to  vary  successive  species  of  tyranny.  Gen- 
erally speaking,  nobody  in  France  wanted  anything  except 
quiet,  the  right  to  free  exercise  of  the  intellect,  the  cultiva- 
tion of  private  virtues,  and  the  reparation  by  degrees  of 
those  losses  of  fortune  which  were  common  to  all.  When  I 
remember  all  the  dreams  which  I  cherished  at  that  time,  the 
recollection  makes  me  sick  at  heart.  I  regret  those  fancies, 
as  one  regrets  the  bright  thoughts  of  ihe  springtime  of  life 
— of  that  time  when,  to  use  a  simile  familiar  to  Bonaparte 
himself,  one  looks  at  all  things  through  a  gilded  veil  which 
makes  them  bright  and  sparkling.  " Little  by  little"  said 
he,  "  this  veil  thickens  as  we  advance  in  life,  until  all  is 


46  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R&MUSAT. 

nearly  Hack."  Alas !  lie  himself  soon  stained  with  blood 
that  gilded  veil  through  which  France  had  gladly  contem- 
plated him. 

It  was  in  the  autumn  of  1802  that  I  established  myself 
for  the  first  time  at  Saint  Cloud,  where  the  First  Consul 
then  was.  There  were  four  ladies,  and  we  each  passed  a 
week  in  succession  in  attendance  on  Mme.  Bonaparte.  The 
service,  as  it  was  called,  of  the  prefects  of  the  palace,  of  the 
generals  of  the  guard,  and  of  the  aides-de-camp,  was  con- 
ducted in  the  same  way.  Duroc,  the  Governor  of  the  Pal- 
ace, lived  at  Saint  Cloud  ;  he  kept  the  household  in  perfect 
order  ;  we  dined  with  him.  The  First  Consul  took  his  meals 
alone  with  his  wife.  Twice  a  week  he  invited  some  mem- 
bers of  the  Government ;  once  a  month  he  gave  a  great  din- 
ner to  a  hundred  guests  at  the  Tuileries,  in  the  Gallery  of 
Diana ;  after  these  dinners  he  received  every  one  who  held 
an  important  post  or  rank,  either  military  or  civil,  and  also 
foreigners  of  note.  During  the  winter  of  1803  we  were 
still  at  peace  with  England.  A  great  number  of  English 
people  came  to  Paris,  and  as  we  were  not  accustomed  to  see- 
ing them,  they  excited  great  curiosity. 

At  these  brilliant  receptions  there  was  a  great  display  of 
luxury.  Bonaparte  liked  women  to  dress  well,  and,  either 
from  policy  or  from  taste,  he  encouraged  his  wife  and  sisters 
to  do  so.  Mme.  Bonaparte  and  Mmes.  Bacciochi  and  Murat 
(Mme.  Leclerc,  afterward  Princess  Pauline,  was  at  Saint 
Domingo  in  1802)  were  always  magnificently  attired.  Cos- 
tumes were  given  to  the  different  corps ;  the  uniforms  were 
rich ;  and  this  pomp,  coming  as  it  did  after  a  period  in  which 
the  affectation  of  squalor  had  been  combined  with  that  of 
extravagant  civisme,  seemed  to  be  an  additional  guarantee 
against  the .  return  of  that  fatal  regime  which  was  still  re- 
membered with  dread. 

Bonaparte's  costume  at  this  period  is  worthy  of  record. 
On  ordinary  days  he  wore  one  of  the  uniforms  of  his  guard ; 
but  he  had  decreed,  for  himself  and  his  two  colleagues,  that 


HABITS  OF  THE  FIRST  CONSUL.  tf 

on  all  occasions  of  grand  ceremonial  each  should  wear  a  red 
coat,  made  in  winter  in  velvet,  in  summer  of  some  other 
material,  and  embroidered  in  gold.  The  two  Consuls,  Cam- 
baceres  and  Lebrun,  elderly,  powdered,  and  well  set  up, 
wore  this  gorgeous  coat,  with  lace,  ruffles,  and  a  sword,  after 
the  old  fashion  of  full  dress ;  but  Bonaparte,  who  detested 
all  such  adornments,  got  rid  of  them  as  much  as  possible. 
His  hair  was  cut  short,  smoothed  down,  and  generally  ill 
arranged.  With  his  crimson-and-gold  coat  he  would  wear  a 
black  cravat,  a  lace  frill  to  his  shirt,  but  no  sleeve  ruffles. 
Sometimes  he  wore  a  white  vest  embroidered  in  silver,  but 
more  frequently  his  uniform  waistcoat,  his  uniform  sword, 
breeches,  silk  stockings,  and  boots.  This  extraordinary  cos- 
tume and  his  small  stature  gave  him  the  oddest  possible 
appearance,  which,  however,  no  one  ventured  to  ridicule. 
When  he  became  Emperor,  he  wore  a  richly  laced  coat,  with 
a  short  cloak  and  a  plumed  hat ;  and  this  costume  became 
him  very  well.  He  also  wore  a  magnificent  collar  of  the 
Order  of  the  Legion  of  Honor,  in  diamonds,  on  state  occa- 
sions; but  on  ordinary  occasions  he  wore  only  the  silver 
cross. 

On  the  eve  of  his  coronation,  the  marshals  he  had  newly 
created  a  few  months  before  came,  to  pay  him  a  visit,  all 
gorgeously  arrayed.  The  splendor  of  their  costume,  in 
k  contrast  with  his  simple  uniform,  made  him  smile.  I  was 
standing  at  a  little  distance  from  him,  and  as  he  saw  that  I 
smiled  also,  he  said  to  me,  in  a  low  tone,  "It is  not  every  one 
who  has  the  right  to  be  plainly  dressed."  Presently  the 
marshals  of  the  army  began  disputing  among  themselves 
about  the  great  question  of  precedence.  Their  pretensions 
were  very  well  founded,  and  each  enumerated  his  victories. 
Bonaparte,  while  listening  to  them,  again  glanced  at  me.  "  I 
think,"  said  I,  "  you  must  have  stamped  your  foot  on  France, 
and  said,  <  Let  all  the  vanities  arise  from  the  soil.' "  "  That 
is  true,"  he  replied ;  "but  it  is  fortunate  that  the  French  are 
to  be  ruled  through  their  vanity." 


48  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R&MUSAT. 

During  the  first  months  of  my  sojourn  at  Saint  Cloud  in 
the  winter,  and  at  Paris,  my  life  was  very  pleasant.  In  the 
morning  at  eight  o'clock  Bonaparte  left  his  wife's  room  and 
Went  to  his  study.  When  we  were  in  Paris  he  again  went 
down  to  her  apartments  to  breakfast;  at  Saint  Cloud  he 
breakfasted  alone,  generally  on  the  terrace.  While  at  break- 
fast he  received  artists  and  actors,  and  talked  to  them  freely 
and  pleasantly.  Afterward  he  devoted  himself  to  public 
affairs  until  six  o'clock.  Mme.  Bonaparte  remained  at  home 
during  the  morning,  receiving  an  immense  number  of  visit- 
ors, chiefly  women.  Among  these  would  be  some  whose 
husbands  belonged  to  the  Government,  and  some  (these  were 
called  de  Vcvncien  regime)  who  did  not  wish  to  have,  or  to 
appear  to  have,  relations  with  the  First  Consul,  but  who 
solicited,  through  his  wife,  "  erasures  "  or  restitutions.  Mme. 
Bonaparte  received  them  all  with  perfect  grace.  She  prom- 
ised everything,  and  sent  every  one  away  well  pleased.  The 
petitions  were  put  aside  and  lost  sometimes,  but  then  they 
brought  fresh  ones,  and  she  seemed  never  tired  of  listening.  * 

*  My  father,  born  in  1797,  was  very  young  at  this  time.  He  had,  however, 
a  distinct  recollection  of  a  visit  which  he  paid  to  the  palace  with  his  mother, 
and  he  writes  in  a  note  respecting  it : 

"  On  Sunday  I  was  taken  to  the  Tuileries,  and  allowed  to  look  on  the  review  of 
the  troops  in  the  Carrousel  from  the  ladies'-maids'  window.  A  large  drawing 
by  Isabey,  which  has  been  engraved,  exactly  reproduces  all  that  was  interesting 
in  that  spectacle.  One  day,  after  the  parade,  my  mother  came  for  me  (I  think  she 
had  accompanied  Mme.  Bonaparte  into  the  court  of  the  Tuileries),  and  took  me 
up  a  staircase  full  of  soldiers,  at  whom  I  stared  hard.  One  of  them,  who  was 
coming  down,  spoke  to  her ;  he  wore  an  infantry  uniform.  '  Who  is  that  ? '  I 
asked,  when  he  had  passed.  He  was  Louis  Bonaparte.  Then  I  saw  a  young 
man  going  up  stairs,  in  the  well-known  uniform  of  the  Guides.  His  name  I  did 
not  need  to  ask.  Children  in  those  days  knew  the  insignia  of  every  rank  and 
corps  in  the  army,  and  who  did  not  know  that  Eugene  de  Beauharnais  was 
Colonel  of  the  Guides  ?  At  last  we  reached  Mme.  Bonaparte's  drawing-room. 
At  first  there  was  no  one  there  but  herself,  one  or  two  ladies,  and  my  father 
wearing  his  red  coat  embroidered  in  silver.  I  was  probably  kissed — perhaps 
they  thought  me  grown ;  then  no  one  noticed  me  any  further.  Soon  an  officer 
of  the  Consul's  guard  entered.  He  was  short,  thin,  and  carried  himself  badly, 
or  at  least  carelessly.  I  was  sufficiently  drilled  in  etiquette  to  observe  that  he 


HABITS  OF  THE  FIRST  CONSUL.  49 

We  dined  at  six  in  Paris ;  at  Saint  Cloud  we  went  out  to 
drive  at  that  hour — the  Consul  alone  in  a  caleche  with  his 
wife,  we  in  other  carriages.  Bonaparte's  brother  and  sisters 
and  Eugene  de  Beauharnais  might  come  to  dine  with  him 
whenever  they  wished  to  do  so.  Sometimes  Mme.  Louis 
came ;  but  she  never  slept  at  Saint  Cloud.  The  jealousy  of 
Louis  Bonaparte,  and  his  extreme  suspicion,  had  already 
made  her  shy  and  melancholy.  Once  or  twice  a  week  the 
little  Napoleon  (who  afterward  died  in  Holland)  was  sent  to 
Saint  Cloud.  Bonaparte  seemed  to  love  that  child ;  he  built 
hopes  for  the  future  upon  him.  Perhaps  it  was  only  on  ac- 
count of  those  hopes  that  he  noticed  him ;  for  M.  de  Talley- 
rand has  told  me  that,  when  the  news  of  his  nephew's  death 
reached  Berlin,  Bonaparte,  who  was  about  to  appear  in  pub- 
lic, was  so  little  affected  that  M.  de  Talleyrand  said,  "You 
forget  that  a  death  has  occurred  in  your  family,  and  that  you 
ought  to  look  serious."  "  I  do  not  amuse  myself,"  replied 
Bonaparte,  "  by  thinking  of  dead  people." 

It  would  be  curious  to  compare  this  frank  utterance  with 
the  fine  speech  of  M.  de  Fontanes,  who,  having  to  deliver  an 
address  upon  the  depositing  of  the  Prussian  flags  in  great 
pomp  at  the  Invalides,  dwelt  pathetically  upon  the  majestic 
grief  of  a  conqueror  who  turned  from  the  splendor  of  his  vic- 
tories to  shed  tears  over  the  death  of  a  child.* 

moved  about  a  great  deal,  and  made  rather  free.  Among  other  things,  I  was 
surprised  to  see  him  sit  on  the  arm  of  a  chair.  From  thence  he  spoke,  across  a 
considerable  distance,  to  my  mother.  We  were  in  front  of  him,  and  I  remarked 
his  thin,  almost  wan  face,  with  its  brown  and  yellowish  tints.  We  drew  near 
him  while  he  spoke.  When  I  was  within  his  reach,  he  noticed  me ;  he  took  me  by 
my  two  ears  and  pulled  them  rather  roughly.  He  hurt  me,  and,  had  I  not  been 
in  a  palace,  I  should  have  cried.  Then,  turning  to  my  father,  *  Is  .he  learning 
mathematics  ? '  he  said.  Soon  I  was  taken  away.  '  Who  is  that  soldier  ? '  I 
asked  my  mother.  'That  soldier  is  the  First  Consul.' " 

Such  was  my  father's  introduction  to  the  life  of  courts.  He  saw  the  Em- 
peror only  once  more,  and  under  similar  circumstances. — P.  R. 

*  The  following  letters  were  written  by  the  Emperor  on  the  occasion  of  the 
death  of  this  child,  in  May,  1807.  He  was  at  Finkestein,  and  he  wrote  to  the 
Empress  Josephine : 


50  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  REMUS  AT. 

After  the  Consul  had  dined,  we  were  told  we  might  go 
upstairs  again.  The  conversation  was  prolonged,  according 
as  he  was  in  a  good  or  a  bad  humor.  He  would  go  away  after 
a  while,  and  in  general  we  did  not  see  him  again.  He  re- 
turned to  work,  gave  some  particular  audience  or  received 
one  of  the  ministers,  and  retired  early.  Mme.  Bonaparte 
played  at  cards  in  the  evening.  Between  ten  and  eleven 
o'clock  she  would  be  told,  "  Madame,  the  First  Consul  has 
gone  to  his  room,"  and  then  she  would  dismiss  us  for  the 
night. 

She  and  every  one  about  her  were  very  reserved  respect- 
ing public  affairs.  Duroc,  Maret  (then  Secretary  of  State), 
and  the  private  secretaries  were  all  impenetrable.  Most  of 
the  soldiers,  to  avoid  talking,  as  I  believe,  abstained  from 
thinking ;  in  that  kind  of  life  there  was  not  much  wear  and 
tear  of  the  mind. 

On  my  arrival  at  Court,  I  was  quite  ignorant  of  the  more 
or  less  dread  that  Bonaparte  inspired  in  those  who  had  known 
him  for  some  time,  and  I  was  less  embarrassed  in  his  pres- 
ence than  the  others ;  and  I  did  not  think  myself  bound  to 
adopt  the  system  of  monosyllables  religiously,  and  perhaps 
prudently,  adopted  by  all  the  household.  This,  however,  ex- 

"I  know  how  much  the  death  of  poor  Napoleon  grieves  you;  you  can 
comprehend  the  pain  I  feel.  I  wish  I  were  near  you,  that  you  might  be  mod- 
erate and  reasonable  in  your  grief.  You  have  had  the  happiness  never  to  lose  a 
child ;  but  that  loss  is  one  of  the  conditions  and  the  penalties  attached  to  our 
miserable  human  destiny.  Let  me  hear  that  you  have  been  reasonable,  and  that 
you  are  well,  if  you  would  not  increase  my  trouble.  Adieu,  my  love." 

Some  days  later  (the  20th  of  May)  he  wrote  to  the  Queen  of  Holland  :  "  My 
daughter,  all  that  I  hear  from  the  Hague  proves  to  me  that  you  are  not  reason- 
ble.  However  legitimate  may  be  your  grief,  it  ought  to  have  limits.  Do  not 
ruin  your  health.  Take  some  recreation,  and  learn  that  life  is  strewn  with  so 
many  trials,  and  may  be  the  cause  of  so  many  evils,  that  death  is  not  the  worst 
one  of  all."  He  wrote  the  same  day  to  M.  Fouche :  "  I  have  felt  the  loss  of  lit- 
tle Napoleon  very  much.  I  could  have  wished  that  his  father  and  mother  had 
received  from  nature  as  much  courage  as  I  have  to  endure  all  the  evils  of  life. 
But  they  are  young,  and  they  have  reflected  less  on  the  fragility  of  all  things 
here  below."— P.  R. 


HABITS  OF  THE  FIRST  CONSUL.  51 

posed  me  to  ridicule  in  a  way  of  which  I  was  unconscious  at 
first,  which  afterward  amused  me,  but  which  in  the  end  I 
had  to  avoid. 

One  evening  Bonaparte  was  praising  the  ability  of  the 
elder  M.  Portalis,  who  was  then  working  at  the  Civil  Code, 
and  M.  de  Eemusat  said  M.  Portalis  had  profited  by  the  study 
of  Montesquieu  in  particular,  adding  that  he  had  read  and 
learned  Montesquieu  as  one  learns  the  catechism.  Bonaparte, 
turning  to  one  of  my  companions,  said  to  her,  laughing,  "  I 
would  bet  something  that  you  do  not  know  what  this  Mon- 
tesquieu is."  "Pardon  me,"  she  replied,  "everybody  has 
read  <  Le  Temple  de  Guide.' "  At  thifr  Bonaparte  went  off 
into  a  fit  of  laughter,  and  I  could  not  help  smiling.  He 
looked  at  me  and  said,  "And  you,  madame?"  I  replied 
simply  that  I  was  not  acquainted  with  "Le  Temple  de 
Guide,"  but  had  read  "  Considerations  sur  les  Eomains,"  and 
that  I  thought  neither  the  one  nor  the  other  work  was  the 
catechism  to  which  M.  de  Remusat  alluded.  "  Diable !  " 
said  Bonaparte,  "  you  are  a  savante  !  "  This  epithet  discon- 
certed me,  for  I  felt  that  it  would  stick.  A  minute  after, 
Mme.  Bonaparte  began  to  talk  of  a  tragedy  (I  do  not  know 
what  it  was)  which  was  then  being  performed.  On  this  the 
First  Consul  passed  the  living  authors  in  review,  and  spoke 
of  Ducis,  whose  style  he  did  not  admire.  He  deplored  the 
mediocrity  of  our  tragic  poets,  ajid  said  that,  above  every- 
thing in  the  world,  he  should  like  to  recompense  the  author 
of  a  fine  tragedy.  I  ventured  to  say  that  Ducis  had  spoilt 
the  "Othello"  of  Shakespeare.  This  long  English  name 
coming  from  my  lips  produced  a  sensation  among  our  silent 
and  attentive  audience  in  epaulettes.  Bonaparte  did  not  al- 
together like  anything  English  being  praised.  We  argued 
the  point  awhile.  All  I  said  was  very  commonplace ;  but  I 
had  named  Shakespeare,  I  had  held  my  own  against  the 
Consul,  I  had  praised  an  English  author.  "What  audacity ! 
what  a  prodigy  of  erudition !  I  was  obliged  to  keep  silence 
for  several  days  after,  or  at  least  only  to  take  part  in  idle 


52  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  LE  REMUS  AT. 

talk,  in  order  to  efface  the  effect  of  my  unlucky  and  easily 
gained  reputation  for  cleverness. 

When  I  left  the  palace  and  went  back  to  my  mother's 
house,  I  associated  there  with  many  amiable  women  and  dis- 
tinguished men,  whose  conversation  was  most  interesting; 
and  I  smiled  to  myself  at  the  difference  between  their  soci- 
ety and  that  of  Bonaparte's  Court. 

One  good  effect  of  our  almost  habitual  silence  was,  that 
it  kept  us  from  gossip.  The  women  had  no  chance  of  in- 
dulging in  coquetry  ;  the  men  were  incessantly  occupied  in 
their  duties ;  and  Bonaparte,  who  did  not  yet  venture  to  in- 
dulge all  his  fancies,  and  who  felt  that  the  appearance  of 
regularity  would  be  useful  to  him,  lived  in  a  way  which  de- 
ceived me  as  to  his  morality.  He  appeared  to  love  his  wife 
very  much  ;  she  seemed  to  be  all  in  all  to  him.  Neverthe- 
less, I  discovered  ere  long  that  she  had  troubles  of  a  nature 
which  surprised  me.  She  was  of  an  exceedingly  jealous  dis- 
position. It  was  a  very  great  misfortune  for  her  that  she 
had  no  children  by  her  second  husband  ;  he  sometimes  ex- 
pressed his  annoyance,  and  then  she  trembled  for  her  future. 
The  family  of  the  First  Consul,  who  were  always  bitter 
against  the  Beauharnais,  made  the  most  of  this  misfortune. 
From  these  causes  quarrels  arose.  Sometimes  I  found  Mme. 
Bonaparte  in  tears,  and  then  she  would  complain  bitterly  of 
her  brothers-in-law,  of  Mme.  Murat,  and  of  Murat,  who  kept 
up  their  own  influence  by  exciting  the  Consul  to  passing 
fancies,  and  promoting  his  secret  intrigues.  I  begged  her 
to  keep  quiet.  I  could  see  that  if  Bonaparte  loved  his  wife, 
it  was  because  her  habitual  gentleness  gave  him  repose,  and 
that  she  would  lose  her  power  if  she  troubled  or  disturbed 
him.  However,  during  my  first  years  at  Court,  the  slight 
differences  which  arose  between  them  always  ended  in  satis- 
factory explanations  and  in  redoubled  tenderness. 

After  1802  I  never  saw  General  Moreau  at  Bonaparte's 
Court ;  they  were  already  estranged.  Moreau's  mother-in- 
law  and  wife  were  schemers,  and  Bonaparte  could  not  endure 


HABITS   OF  THE  FIRST  CONSUL.  53 

a  spirit  of  intrigue  in  women.  Moreover,  on  one  occasion 
the  mother  of  Mme.  Moreau,  being  at  Malmaison,  had  ven- 
tured to  jest  about  the  suspected  scandalous  intimacy  between 
Bonaparte  and  his  young  sister  Caroline,  then  newly  mar- 
ried. The  Consul  had  not  forgiven  these  remarks,  for  which 
he  had  severely  censured  both  the  mother  and  the  daughter. 
Moreau  complained,  and  was  sharply  questioned  about  his 
own  attitude.  He  lived  in  retirement,  among  people  who 
kept  him  in  a  state  of  constant  irritation  ;  and  Murat,  who 
was  the  chief  of  an  active  secret  police,  spied  out  causes  of 
offense  which  were  wholly  unimportant,  and  continually  car- 
ried malicious  reports  to  the  Tuileries.  This  multiplication 
of  the  police  was  one  of  the  evils  of  Bonaparte's  govern- 
ment, and  was  the  result  of  his  suspicious  disposition.  The 
agents  acted  as  spies  upon  each  other,  denounced  each  other, 
endeavored  to  make  themselves  necessary,  and  kept  alive  Bo- 
naparte's habitual  mistrust.  After  the  affair  of  the  infernal 
machine,  of  which  M.  de  Talleyrand  availed  himself  to  pro- 
cure the  dismissal  of  Fouche,  the  police  had  been  put  into 
the  hands  of  Eegnier,  the  chief  judge.  Bonaparte  thought 
that  his  suppressing  the  Ministry  of  Police,  which  was  a 
revolutionary  invention,  would  look  like  liberalism  and  mod- 
eration. He  soon  repented  of  this  step,  and  replaced  the 
regular  ministry  by  a  multitude  of  spies,  whom  he  continued 
to  employ  even  after  he  had  reinstated  Fouche.  His  Prefect 
of  Police,  Murat,  Duroc,  Savary  (who  then  commanded  the 
gendarmerie  d? elite),  Maret  (who  had  also  a  secret  police,  at 
the  head  of  which  was  M.  de  Semonville),  and  I  don't  know 
how  many  others,  did  the  work  of  the  suppressed  ministry. 

Fouche,  who  possessed  in  perfection  the  art  of  making 
himself  necessary,  soon  crept  back  secretly  into  the  favor  of 
the  First  Consul,  and  succeeded  in  getting  himself  made 
minister  a  second  time.  The  badly  conducted  trial  of  Gen- 
eral Moreau  aided  him  in  that  attempt,  as  will  be  seen  by 
what  follows. 

At  this  time  Cambace'res  and  Lebrun,  Second  and  Third 


54:  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE 

Consuls,  took  very  little  part  in  the  administration  of  the 
Government.  The  latter,  who  was  an  old  man,  gave  Bona- 
parte no  concern.  The  .former,  a  distinguished  magistrate, 
who  was  of  great  weight  in  all  questions  within  the  province 
of  the  Council  of  State,  took  part  only  in  the  discussion  of 
certain  laws.  Bonaparte  profited  by  his  knowledge,  and  re- 
lied with  good  reason  on  the  ridicule  which  his  petty  vanity 
excited  to  diminish  his  importance.  Cambaceres,  charmed 
with  the  distinctions  conferred  on  him,  paraded  them  with 
childish  pleasure,  which  was  humored  and  laughed  at.  His 
self-conceit  on  certain  points  frequently  secured  his  safety. 

At  the  time  of  which  I  speak,  M.  de  Talleyrand  had  vast 
influence.  Every  great  political  question  passed  through  his 
hands.  Not  only  did  he  regulate  foreign  affairs  at  that 
period,  and  principally  determine  the  new  State  constitu- 
tions to  be  given  to  Germany — &  task  which  kid  the  founda- 
tions of  his  immense  fortune — but  he  had  long  conferences 
with  Bonaparte  every  day,  and  urged  him  to  measures  for 
the  establishment  of  his  power  on  the  basis  of  reparation  and 
reconstruction.  At  that  time  I  am  certain  that  measures  for 
the  restoration  of  monarchy  were  frequently  discussed  be- 
tween them.  M.  de  Talleyrand  always  remained  unalterably 
convinced  that  monarchical  government  only  was  suitable  to 
France  ;  while,  for  his  own  part,  it  would  have  enabled  him 
to  resume  all  his  former  habits  of  life,  and  replaced  him  on 
familiar  ground.  Both  the  advantages  and  the  abuses  proper 
to  courts  would  offer  him  chances  of  acquiring  power  and  in- 
fluence. I  did  not  know  M.  de  Talleyrand,  and  all  I  had 
heard  of  him  had  prejudiced  me  strongly  against  him.  I 
was,  however,  struck  by  the  elegance  of  his  manners,  which 
presented  so  strong  a  contrast  to  the  rude  bearing  of  the 
military  men  by  whom  I  was  surrounded.  He  preserved 
among  them  the  indelible  characteristics  of  a  grand  seigneur. 
He  overawed  by  his  disdainful  silence,  by  his  patronizing 
politeness,  from  which  no  one  could  escape.  M.  de  Talley- 
rand, who  was  the  most  artificial  of  beings,  contrived  to 


Jf.  DE  TALLEYRAND.  55 

make  a  sort  of  natural  character  for  himself  out  of  a  number 
of  habits  deliberately  adopted;  he  adhered  to  them  under 
all  circumstances,  as  though  they  had  really  constituted  his 
true  nature.  His  habitually  light  manner  of  treating  the 
most  momentous  matters  was  almost  always  useful  to  him- 
self, but  it  frequently  injured  the  effect  of  his  actions. 

For  several  years  I  had  no  acquaintance  with  him — I 
distrusted  him  vaguely  ;  but  it  amused  me  to  hear  him  talk, 
and  see  him  act  with  ease  peculiar  to  himself,  and  which 
lent  infinite  grace  to  all  those  ways  of  his,  which  in  any 
other  man  would  be  regarded  as  sheer  affectation. 

The  winter  of  this  year  (1803)  was  very  brilliant.  Bona- 
parte desired  that  fetes  should  be  given,  and  he  also  occu- 
pied himself  with  the  restoration  of  the  theatres.  He  con- 
fided the  carrying  out  of  the  latter  design  to  his  Prefects 
of  the  Palace.  M.  de  Remusat  was  intrusted  with  the  charge 
of  the  Comedie  Francaise ;  a  number  of  pieces  which  had 
been  prohibited  by  Republican  policy  were  put  upon  the 
stage.  By  degrees  all  the  former  habits  of  social  life  were 
resumed.  This  was  a  clever  way  of  enticing  back  those  who 
had  been  familiar  with  that  social  life,  and  of  reuniting  the 
ties  that  bind  civilized  men  together.  This  system  was  skill- 
fully carried  out.  Hostile  opinions  became  weaker  daily. 
The  Royalists,  who  had  been  bafiled  on  the  18th  Fructidor, 
continued  to  hope  that  Bonaparte,  after  having  reestablished 
order,  would  include  the  return  of  the  house  of  Bourbon 
among  his  restorations.  They  deceived  themselves  on  this 
point  indeed,  but  at  least  they  might  tlinank  him  for  the  re- 
establishment  of  order ;  and  they  looked  forward  to  a  deci- 
sive blow,  which,  by  disposing  of  his  person  and  suddenly 
rendering  vacant  a  place  which  henceforth  no  one  but  he 
could  fill,  would  make  it  evident  that  only  the  legitimate 
sovereign  could  be  his  natural  successor.  This  secret  idea 
of  a  party  which  is  generally  confident  in  what  it  hopes,  and 
always  imprudent  in  what  it  attempts,  led  to  renewed  secret 
correspondences  with  our  princes,  to  attempts  by  the  emigres. 


56  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  K&MUSAT. 

and  to  movements  in  La  Vendee  ;  and  all  these  proceedings 
Bonaparte  watched  in  silence. 

On  the  other  hand,  those  who  were  enamored  of  federal 
government  observed  with  uneasiness  that  the  consular  au- 
thority tended  toward  a  centralization  which  was  by  degrees 
reviving  the  idea  of  royalty.  These  malcontents  were  al- 
most of  the  same  mind  as  the  few  individuals  who,  notwith- 
standing the  errors  into  which  the  cause  of  liberty  had  led 
some  of  its  partisans,  were  forced  by  their  consciences  to 
acknowledge  that  the  French  Revolution  was  a  movement 
of  public  utility,  and  who  feared  that  Bonaparte  might  suc- 
ceed in  paralyzing  its  action.  Now  and  then  a  few  words 
were  said  on  this  subject,  which,  although  very  moderate  in 
tone,  showed  that  the  Hoyalists  were  not  the  only  antagonists 
the  secret  projects  of  Bonaparte  would  meet  with.  Then 
there  were  the  ultra-Jacobins  to  be  kept  within  bounds,  and 
also  the  military,  who,  full  of  their  pretensions,  were  aston- 
ished that  any  rights  except  their  own  should  be  recognized. 
The  state  of  opinion  among  all  these  different  parties  was 
accurately  reported  to  Bonaparte,  who  steered  his  way  among 
them  prudently.  He  went  on  steadily  toward  a  goal,  which 
at  that  time  few  people  even  guessed  at.  He  kept  attention 
fixed  upon  a  portion  of  his  policy  which  he  enveloped  in 
mystery.  He  could  at  will  attract  or  divert  attention,  and 
alternately  excite  the  approbation  of  the  one  or  the  other 
party — disturb  or  reassure  them  as  he  found  it  necessary ; 
now  exciting  wonder,  and  then  hope.  He  regarded  the 
French  as  fickle  children  ready  to  be  amused  by  a  new  play- 
thing at  the  expense  of  their  own  dearest  interests.  His 
position  as  First  Consul  was  advantageous  to  him,  because, 
being  so  undefined,  it  excited  less  uneasiness  among  a  certain 
class  of  people.  At  a  later  period  the  positive  rank  of  Em- 
peror deprived  him  of  that  advantage ;  then,  after  having 
let  France  into  his  secret,  he  had  no  other  means  left  where- 
by to  efface  the  impression  from  the  country,  but  that  fatal 
lure  of  military  glory  which  he  displayed  before  her.  From 


M.  DE  TALLEYRAND.  57 

this  cause  arose  his  never-ending  wars,  his  interminable  con- 
quests ;  for  he  felt  we  must  be  occupied  at  all  hazards.  And 
now  we  can  see  that  from  this  cause,  too,  arose  the  obligation 
imposed  on  him  to  push  his  destiny  to  its  limits,  and  to  re- 
fuse peace  either  at  Dresden  or  even  at  Chatillon.  For 
Bonaparte  knew  that  he  must  infallibly  be  lost,  from  that 
day  on  which  his  compulsory  quietude  should  give  us  time 
to  reflect  upon  him  and  upon  ourselves. 

At  the  end  of  1802,  or  the  beginning  of  1803,  there  ap- 
peared in  the  "  Moniteur  "  a  dialogue  between  a  Frenchman, 
enthusiastic  on  the  subject  of  the  English  constitution,  and 
a  so-called  reasonable  Englishman,  who,  after  having  shown 
that  there  is,  strictly  speaking,  no  constitution  in  England, 
but  only  institutions,  all  more  or  less  adapted  to  the  position 
of  the  country  and  to  the  character  of  its  inhabitants,  en- 
deavors to  prove  that  these  institutions  could  not  be  adopted 
by  the  French  without  giving  rise  to  many  evils.  By  these 
and  similar  means,  Bonaparte  endeavored  to  control  that  de- 
sire for  liberty  which  always  springs  up  anew  in  the  minds 
of  the  French  people. 

About  the  close  of  1802  we  heard  at  Paris  of  the  death 
of  General  Leclerc,  of  yellow  fever,  at  Saint  Domingo.  In 
the  month  of  January  his  pretty  young  widow  returned  to 
France.  She  was  then  in  bad  health,  and  dressed  in  deep, 
somber  mourning ;  but  still  I  thought  her  the  most  charming 
person  I  had  ever  seen.  Bonaparte  strongly  exhorted  her  to 
conduct  herself  better  than  she  had  done  before  she  went 
out  to  Saint  Domingo ;  and  she  promised  everything,  but 
soon  broke  her  word. 

The  death  of  General  Leclerc  gave  rise  to  a  little  diffi- 
culty, and  the  settling  of  this  tended  toward  that  revival  of 
former  customs  which  was  preparing  the  way  for  monarchy. 
Bonaparte  and  Mme.  Bonaparte  put  on  mourning,  and  we 
received  orders  to  do  likewise.  This  was  significant  enough ; 
but  it  was  not  all.  The  ambassadors  were  to  pay  a  visit  at 
the  Tuileries,  to  condole  with  the  Consul  and  his  wife  on 


58  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  REMUSAT. 

their  loss,  and  it  was  represented  to  them  that  politeness  re- 
quired them  to  wear  mourning  on  the  occasion.  They  met 
to  deliberate,  and,  as  there  was  not  time  for  them  to  obtain 
instructions  from  their  several  courts,  they  resolved  to  accept 
the  intimation  they  had  received,  thus  following  the  custom 
usual  in  such  cases.  Since  September,  1802,  an  ambassador 
from  England,  Lord  Whitworth,  had  replaced  the  charge 
&  affaires.  There  was  hope  of  a  lasting  peace ;  intercourse 
between  England  and  France  increased  daily ;  but,  notwith- 
standing this,  persons  who  were  a  little  better  informed  than 
the  crown  foresaw  causes  of  dissension  between  the  two 
Governments.  There  had  been  a  discussion  in  the  English 
Parliament  about  the  part  which  the  French  Government 
had  taken  in  the  matter  of  the  new  Swiss  constitution,  and 
the  "  Moniteur,"  which  was  entirely  official,  published  arti- 
cles complaining  of  certain  measures  which  were  taken  in 
London  against  Frenchmen.  Appearances  were,  however, 
extremely  favorable ;  all  Paris,  and  especially  the  Tuileries, 
seemed  to  be -given  up  to  fetes  and  pleasures.  Domestic  life 
at  the  chateau  was  all  peace,  when  suddenly  the  First  Con- 
sul's taking  a  fancy  to  a  young  and  beautiful  actress,  of  the 
Theatre  Fran§ais,  threw  Mme.  Bonaparte  into  great  distress, 
and  gave  rise  to  bitter  quarrels. 

Two  remarkable  actresses  (Miles.  Duchesnois  and  Georges) 
had  made  their  debut  in  tragedy  almost  at  the  same  time. 
The  one  was  very  plain,  but  her  genius  speedily  gained 
popularity ;  the  other  was  not  so  talented,  but  was  extremely 
beautiful.*  The  Parisian  public  sided  warmly  with  one  or 

*  The  following  is  my  father's  recollection  of  the  talents  and  the  rivalry  of 
these  two  celebrated  actresses:  "The  liaison  of  the  Emperor  with  Mile.  Georges 
was  much  talked  about.  I  myself  remember  when  a  controversy  raged  in  soci- 
ety respecting  the  merits  of  the  two  tragediennes.  After  each  representation 
given  by  the  one  or  the  other,  there  were  very  animated  disputes.  Connoisseurs 
and  the  public  in  general  preferred  Mile.  Duchesnois.  She  had  not  much  tal- 
ent, however,  and  acted  without  intelligence ;  but  she  had  passion,  tenderness, 
and  a  touching  voice,  which  moved  her  audience  to  tears.  It  was,  I  believe,  for 
her  that  the  phrase,  '  to  have  tears  in  the  voice,'  was  invented.  My  mother  and 


MADAME  BONAPARTE'S  JEALOUSY.  59 

the  other,  but  in  general  the  success  of  talent  was  greater 
than  that  of  beauty.  Bonaparte,  on  the  contrary,  was  charmed 
with  the  latter ;  and  Mme.  Bonaparte  soon  learned,  through 
the  spying  of  her  servants,  that  Mile.  Georges  had  on  sev- 
eral occasions  been  introduced  into  a  little  back  room  in  the 
chateau.  This  discovery  caused  her  extreme  distress;  she 
told  me  of  it  with  great  emotion,  and  shed  more  tears  than 
I  thought  such  a  temporary  affair  called  for.  I  represented 
to  her  that  gentleness  and  patience  were  the  only  remedies 
for  a  grief  which  time  would  certainly  cure  ;  and  it  was  dur- 
ing the  conversations  we  had  on  this  subject  that  she  gave 
me  a  notion  of  her  husband  which  I  would  not  otherwise 
have  formed.  According  to  her  account,  he  had  no  moral 
principles  whatever,  and  only  concealed  his  vicious  inclina- 
tions at  that  time  because  he  feared  they  might  harm  him ; 
but,  when  he  could  give  himself  up  to  them  without  any 
risk,  he  would  abandon  himself  to  the  most  shameful  pas- 
sions. Had  he  not  seduced  his  own  sisters  one  after  the 
other  ?  Did  he  not  hold  that  his  position  entitled  him  to 
gratify  all  his  inclinations  ?  And,  besides,  his  brothers  were 
practicing  on  his  weaknesses  to  induce  him  to  relinquish  all 
relations  with  his  wife.  As  the  result  of  their  schemes  she 
foresaw  the  much-dreaded  divorce,  which  had  already  been 
mooted.  "  It  is  a  great  misfortune  for  me,"  she  added,  "  that 
I  have  not  borne  a  son  to  Bonaparte.  That  gives  their  hatred 

my  aunt  (Mme.  de  Nansouty)  were  in  favor  of  Mile.  Duchesnois,  even  to  the 
point  of  disputing  with  my  father  himself,  who,  in  his  official  capacity,  was 
bound  to  be  impartial.  These  discussions  on  dramatic  art,  enlivened  by  the  fa- 
cility which  my  father's  functions  gave  us  for  attending  the  theatres,  inspired 
me  with  a  taste  for  literature  and  conversation  quite  beyond  my  age.  When 
very  young,  I  was  taken  to  the  theatre,  and  I  saw  both  these  Melpomenes.  It 
was  said  the  one  was  so  good  as  to  be  beautiful,  and  the  other  was  so  beautiful 
as  to  be  good.  The  latter,  who  was  then  very  young,  trusting  to  her  charms, 
was  indolent,  and  the  want  of  flexibility  in  her  voice  and  a  kind  of  drawl  in  her 
pronunciation  interfered  with  her  elocution.  I  think,  however,  in  reality  she 
was  more  clever  than  her  rival,  but  that,  by  using  her  talent  in  so  many  differ- 
ent ways,  she  at  the  same  time  developed  and  depreciated  it ;  and  she  deserved 
at  least  a  part  of  the  reputation  that  she  acquired  in  her  old  age." 


60  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R^MUSAT. 

a  weapon  which  they  can  always  use  against  me."  "  But, 
madame,"  I  said,  "it  appears  to  me  that  your  daughter's 
child  almost  repairs  that  misfortune ;  the  First  Consul  loves 
him,  and  will,  perhaps,  in  the  end  adopt  him."  "  Alas  !  " 
replied  she,  "  that  is  the  object  of  my  dearest  wishes ;  but 
the  jealous  and  sullen  disposition  of  Louis  Bonaparte  leads 
him  to  oppose  it.  His  family  have  maliciously  repeated  to 
him  the  insulting  rumors  concerning  my  daughter's  conduct 
and  the  paternity  of  her  son.  Slander  has  declared  the  child 
to  be  Bonaparte's,  and  that  is  sufficient  to  make  Louis  refuse 
his  consent  to  the  adoption.  You  see  how  he  keeps  away 
from  us,  and  now  my  daughter  is  obliged  to  be  on  her  guard 
in  everything.  Moreover,  independently  of  the  good  rea- 
sons I  have  for  not  enduring  Bonaparte's  infidelities,  they 
always  mean  that  I  shall  have  a  thousand  other  annoyances 
to  submit  to." 

This  was  quite  true.  I  observed  that  from  the  moment 
the  First  Consul  paid  attention  to  another  woman — whether 
it  was  that  his  despotic  temper  led  him  to  expect  that  his 
wife  should  approve  this  indication  of  his  absolute  indepen- 
dence in  all  things,  or  whether  nature  had  bestowed  upon 
him  so  limited  a  faculty  of  loving  that  it  was  all  absorbed  by 
the  person  preferred  at  the  time,  and  that  he  had  not  a  par- 
ticle of  feeling  left  to  bestow  upon  another — he  became 
harsh,  violent,  and  pitiless  to  his  wife.  Whenever  he  had  a 
mistress,  he  let  her  know  it,  and  showed  a  sort  of  savage  sur- 
prise that  she  did  not  approve  of  his  indulging  in  pleasures 
which,  as  he  would  demonstrate,  so  to  speak,  mathematically, 
were  both  allowable  and  necessary  for  him.  "  I  am  not  an 
ordinary  man,"  he  would  say,  "  and  the  laws  of  morals  and 
of  custom  were  never  made  for  me."  Such  speeches  as 
these  aroused  the  anger  of  Mme.  Bonaparte,  and  she  replied 
to  them  by  tears  and  complaints,  which  her  husband  resented 
with  the  utmost  violence.  After  a  while  his  new  fancy 
would  vanish  suddenly,  and  his  tenderness  for  his  wife  re- 
vive. Then  he  was  moved  by  her  grief,  and  would  lavish 


MADAME  BONAPARTE' S  JEALOUSY.  61 

caresses  upon  her  as  unmeasured  as  his  wrath  had  been; 
and,  as  she  was  very  placable  and  gentle,  she  was  easily 
appeased. 

While  the  storm  lasted,  however,  my  position  was  ren- 
dered embarrassing  by  the  strange  confidences  of  which  I 
was  the  recipient,  and  at  times  by  proceedings  in  which  I 
was  obliged  to  take  part.  I  remember  one  occurrence  in 
particular,  during  the  winter  of  1803,  at  which,  and  the  ab- 
surd panic  into  which  it  threw  me,  I  have  often  laughed 
since. 

Bonaparte  was  in  the  habit  of  occupying  the  same  room 
with  his  wife ;  she  had  cleverly  persuaded  him  that  doing  so 
tended  to  insure  his  personal  safety.  "I  told  him,"  she 
said,  "that  as  I  was  a  very  light  sleeper,  if  any  nocturnal 
attempt  against  him  was  made,  I  should  be  there  to  call  for 
help  in  a  moment."  In  the  evening  she  never  retired  until 
Bonaparte  had  gone  to  bed.  But  when  Mile.  Georges  was 
in  the  ascendant,  as  she  used  to  visit  the  chateau  very  late, 
he  did  not  on  those  occasions  go  to  his  wife's  room  until  an 
advanced  hour  of  the  night.  One  evening  Mme.  Bonaparte, 
who  was  more  than  usually  jealous  and  suspicious,  kept  me 
with  her,  and  eagerly  talked  of  .her  troubles.  It  was  one 
o'clock  in  the  morning ;  we  were  alone  in  her  bondoir,  and 
profound  silence  reigned  in  the  Tuileries.  All  at  once  she 
rose.  "I  can  not  bear  it  any  longer,"  she  said.  "Mile. 
Georges  is  certainly  with  him ;  I  will  surprise  them."  I 
was  alarmed  by  this  sudden  resolution,  and  said  all  I  could 
to  dissuade  her  from  acting  on  it,  but  in  vain.  "  Follow 
me,"  she  said  ;  "  let  us  go  up  together."  Then  I  represented 
to  her  that  such  an  act,  very  improper  even  on  her  part, 
would  be  intolerable  on  mine  ;  and  that,  in  case  of  her  mak- 
ing the  discovery  which  she  expected,  I  should  certainly  be 
one  too  many  at  the  scene  which  must  ensue.  She  would 
listen  to  nothing ;  she  reproached  me  with  abandoning  her 
in  her  distress,  and  she  begged  me  so  earnestly  to  accompany 
her,  that,  notwithstanding  my  repugnance,  I  yielded,  saying 


62  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  KfiMUSAT. 

to  myself  that  our  expedition  would  end  in  nothing,  as  no 
doubt  precautions  had  been  taken  to  prevent  a  surprise. 

Silently  we  ascended  the  back  staircase  leading  to  Bona- 
parte's room ;  Mme.  Bonaparte,  who  was  much  excited,  go- 
ing first,  while  I  followed  slowly,  feeling  very  much  ashamed 
of  the  part  I  was  being  made  to  play.  On  our  way  we  heard 
a  slight  noise.  Mme.  Bonaparte  turned  to  me  and  said, 
"  Perhaps  that  is  Rustan,  Bonaparte's  Mameluke,  who  keeps 
the  door.  The  wretch  is  quite  capable  of  killing  us  both." 
On  hearing  this,  I  was  seized  with  such  terror  that  I  could 
not  listen  further,  and,  forgetting  that  I  was  leaving  Mme. 
Bonaparte  in  utter  darkness,  I  ran  back  as  quickly  as  I  could 
to  the  boudoir,  candle  in  hand.  She  followed  me  a  few  min- 
utes after,  astonished  at  my  sudden  flight.  When  she  saw 
my  terrified  face,  she  began  to  laugh,  which  set  me  off  laugh- 
ing also,  and  we  renounced  our  enterprise.  I  left  her,  tell- 
ing her  I  thought  the  fright  she  had  given  me  was  a  very 
good  thing  for  her,  and  that  I  was  very  glad  I  had  yielded 
to  it. 

Mme.  Bonaparte's  jealousy  affected  her  sweet  temper  so 
much  that  it  could  not  long  be  a  secret  to  anybody.  I  was 
in  the  embarrassing  position  of  a  confidant  without  influence 
over  the  person  who  confided  in  me,  and  I  could  not  but 
appear  to  be  mixed  up  in  the  quarrels  which  I  witnessed. 
Bonaparte  thought  that  one  woman  must  enter  eagerly  into 
the  feelings  of  another,  and  he  showed  some  annoyance  at 
my  being  made  aware  of  the  facts  of  his  private  life. 

Meantime,  the  ugly  actress  grew  in  favor  with  the  pub- 
lic of  Paris,  and  the  handsome  one  was  frequently  received 
with  hisses.  M.  de  Eemusat  endeavored  to  divide  patronage 
equally  between  the  two ;  but  whatever  he  did  for  the  one 
or  for  the  other  was  received  with  equal  dissatisfaction,  either 
by  the  First  Consul  or  by  the  public. 

These  petty  affairs  gave  us  a  good  deal  of  annoyance. 
Bonaparte,  without  confiding  the  secret  of  his  interest  in  the 
fair  actress  to  M.  de  Remusat,  complained  to  my  husband, 


MADAME  BONAPARTE'S  JEALOUSY.  63 

saying  that  he  would  not  object  to  my  being  his  wife's  con- 
fidant, provided  I  would  only  give  her  good  advice.  My 
husband  represented  me  as  a  sensible  person,  brought  up 
with  a  great  regard  for  propriety,  and  who  would  be  most 
unlikely  to  encourage  Mme.  Bonaparte's  jealous  fancies. 
The  First  Consul,  who  was  still  well  disposed  toward  us,  ac- 
cepted this  view  of  my  conduct ;  but  thence  arose  another 
annoyance.  He  called  upon  me  to  interfere  in  his  conjugal 
quarrels,  and  wanted  to  avail  himself  of  what  he  called  my 
good  sense  against  the  foolish  jealousy  of  which  he  was 
wearied.  As  I  never  could  conceal  my  real  sentiments,  I 
answered  quite  sincerely,  when  he  told  me  how  weary  he 
was  of  all  these  scenes,  that  I  pitied  Mme.  Bonaparte  very 
much,  whether  she  suffered  with  or  without  cause,  and  that 
he,  above  all  persons,  ought  to  excuse  her ;  but,  at  the  same 
time,  I  admitted  that  I  thought  it  undignified  on  her  part  to 
endeavor  to  prove  the  infidelity  which  she  suspected  by  em- 
ploying her  servants  as  spies  on  her  husband.  The  First 
Consul  did  not  fail  to  tell  his  wife  that  I  blamed  her  in  this 
respect,  and  then  I  was  involved  in  endless  explanations  be- 
tween the  husband  and  the  wife,  into  which  I  imported  all 
the  ardor  natural  to  my  age,  and  also  the  devotion  and  at- 
tachment which  I  felt  for  both  of  them.  We  went  through 
a  constant  succession  of  scenes,  whose  details  have  now  faded 
from  my  memory,  and  in  which  Bonaparte  would  be  at  one 
time  imperious,  harsh,  excessively  suspicious,  and  at  another 
suddenly  moved,  tender,  almost  gentle,  atoning  with  a  good 
grace  for  the  faults  he  acknowledged  but  did  not  renounce. 

I  remember  one  day,  in  order  to  avoid  an  awkward  tete- 
a-tete  with  Mme.  Bonaparte,  he  made  me  remain  to  dinner. 
His  wife  was  just  then  very  angry,  because  he  had  declared 
that  henceforth  he  would  have  a  separate  apartment,  and  he 
insisted  that  I  should  give  my  opinion  on  this  point.  I  was 
quite  unprepared  to  answer  him,  and  I  knew  that  Mme. 
Bonaparte  would  not  readily  forgive  me  if  I  did  not  decide 
in  her  favor.  I  tried  to  evade  a  reply ;  but  Bonaparte,  who 


64  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  RfiMUSAT. 

enjoyed  my  embarrassment,  insisted.  I  could  find  no  other 
way  out  of  the  difficulty  than  by  saying  that  I  thought  any- 
thing which  might  make  people  think  the  First  Consul  was 
altering  his  manner  of  living  would  give  rise  to  injurious 
reports,  and  that  the  least  change  in  the  arrangements  of  the 
chdteau  would  inevitably  be  talked  about.  Bonaparte  laughed, 
and,  pinching  my  ear,  said,  "  Ah !  you  are  a  woman,  and  you 
all  back  each  other." 

Nevertheless,  he  carried  out  his  resolution,  and  from  that 
time  forth  occupied  a  separate  apartment.  His  manner  to- 
ward his  wife,  however,  became  more  affectionate  after  this 
breeze,  and  she,  on  her  side,  was  less  suspicious  of  him.  She 
adopted  the  advice  which  I  constantly  urged  upon  her,  to 
treat  such  unworthy  rivalry  with  disdain.  "It  would  be 
quite  time  enough  to  fret,"  I  said,  "  if  the  Consul  chose  one 
of  the  women  in  your  own  society ;  that  would  be  a  real  grief, 
and  for  me  a  serious  annoyance."  Two  years  afterward  my 
prediction  was  only  too  fully  realized,  especially  as  regarded 
myself. 


CHAPTEK  II. 

(1803.) 

A  Eeturn  to  the  Customs  of  the  Monarchy — M.  de  Fontanes — Mme.  d'Houdetot — 
Kumors  of  War— Meeting  of  the  Corps  Le"gislatif— Departure  of  the  English  Am- 
bassador— M.  Maret — Marshal  Berthier — Journey  of  the  First  Consul  to  Belgium 
—A  Carriage  Accident— The  Amiens  Fe"tes. 

WITH  the  exception  of  this  slight  disturbance,  the  winter 
passed  quietly.  The  progress  of  the  restoration  of  order  was 
marked  by  several  new  institutions.  The  lyceums  were  or- 
ganized ;  the  magistrates  again  wore  official  robes,  and  were 
also  invested  with  some  importance.  A  collection  of  French 
paintings  was  placed  at  the  Louvre,  and  called  "  the  Museum," 
and  M.  Denon  was  appointed  superintendent.  Pensions  and 
rewards  were  conferred  on  men  of  letters,  and  M.  de  Fontanes 
was  frequently  consulted  on  these  points.  Bonaparte  liked 
to  talk  with  him,  and  their  conversations  were  in  general 
very  entertaining.  The  First  Consul  amused  himself  by  at- 
tacking the  pure  and  classical  taste  of  M.  de  Fontanes,  who 
defended  our  French  chefs-cTceuvre  with  warmth,  and  thus  he 
gained  a  reputation  for  courage  among  those  present.  For 
there  were  already  persons  at  that  Court  who  took  so  readily 
to  the  rdle  of  the  courtier,  that  they  looked  upon  any  one  who 
ventured  to  admire  "Merope"or  "  Mithridates,"  after  the 
master  had  declared  that  he  cared  for  neither  of  those  works, 
as  quite  a  heroic  being. 

Bonaparte  appeared  to  derive  great  amusement  from  these 
literary  controversies.  At  one  time  he  even  thought  of  in- 
viting certain  men  of  letters  to  come  twice  a  week  to  Mme. 


66  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  RfiMUSAT. 

Bonaparte's  receptions,  so  that  he  might  enjoy  their  conver- 
sation. M.  de  Remusat,  who  was  acquainted  with  a  number 
of  distinguished  men  in  Paris,  was  directed  to  invite  them  to 
the  chateau.  Accordingly,  one  evening,  several  academicians 
and  well-known  literary  men  were  invited.  Bonaparte  was 
in  a  good  humor  that  night ;  he  talked  very  well,  and  allowed 
others  to  talk ;  he  was  agreeable  and  animated.  I  was 
charmed  to  see  him  make  himself  so  agreeable.  I  was  very 
anxious  that  he  should  make  a  favorable  impression  on  .per- 
sons who  had  not  previously  known  him,  and  thus  defeat 
certain  prejudices  which  prevailed  against  him.  When  he 
chose,  he  could  exhibit  keen  judgment,  as  he  did,  for  instance, 
in  appraising  the  worth  of  the  old  Abbe  Morellet's  intellect.* 
Morellet  was  a  straightforward,  positive  man,  who  proceeded 
in  argument  from  fact  to  fact  and  would  never  admit  the 
power  of  the  imagination  on  the  progress  of  human  ideas. 
Bonaparte  delighted  in  upsetting  this  system.  Allowing  his 
imagination  to  take  any  flight  it  wished — and  in  the  Abbe's 
presence  it  carried  him  far — he  broached  all  kinds  of  subjects, 
gave  full  flight  to  his  ideas,  was  highly  amused  at  the  bewil- 
derment of  the  Abbe,  and  was  really  very  entertaining. 

The  next  day  he  spoke  with  pleasure  of  the  previous 
evening,  and  said  he  would  like  to  have  many  such.  A 
similar  reception  was  therefore  fixed  for  a  few  days  later. 
Somebody  (I  forget  who)  began  to  talk  with  much  animation 
about  liberty  of  thought  and  speech,  and  the  advantages 
which  they  secure  to  nations.  This  led  to  a  discussion  con- 
siderably less  free  than  on  the  former  occasion,  and  the  Con- 
sul maintained  a  silence  when  seemed  to  paralyze  the  com- 
pany. On  the  third  evening  he  came  in  late,  was  absent 
and  gloomy,  and  spoke  only  a  few  unconnected  sentences. 
Every  one  was  silent  and  constrained ;  and  the  next  day  the 
First  Consul  told  us  that  he  saw  there  was  nothing  to  be 

*  The  Abbe  Morellet,  a  friend  of  Mme.  d'Houdetot  and  Mme.  de  Vergennes, 
was  a  well-known  personage  at  the  end  of  the  eighteenth  century,  and  was  called 
by  Voltaire  the  Abbe  Mord-les.  He  died  January  12,  1819.— P.  R. 


MADAME  &HOUDETOT.  67 

made  of  these  men  of  letters,  nothing  to  be  gained  by  ad- 
mitting them  to  intimacy,  and  he  did  not  wish  they  should 
be  invited  again.  He  could  not  bear  any  restraint,  and  being 
obliged  to  appear  affable  and  in  a  good  humor  on  a  certain 
day  and  at  a  certain  hour  was  a  yoke  which  he  hastened  to 
shake  off. 

During  that  winter  two  distinguished  academicians,  MM. 
de  la  Harpe  and  de  Saint-Lambert,  died.  I  regretted  the 
latter  very  much,  because  I  was  exceedingly  attached  to 
Mme.  d'Houdetot,  whose  intimate  friend  he  had  been  for 
forty  years,  and  at  whose  house  he  died.  This  delightful 
old  lady  received  all  the  best  and  most  agreeable  society  of 
Paris.  I  was  a  constant  visitor  at  her  house  ;  there  I  found 
the  revival  of  a  day  which  then  seemed  lost  beyond  recall — 
I  mean  that  in  which  people  conversed  in  an  agreeable  and 
instructive  manner.  Mme.  d'Houdetot,  whose  age  and  dis- 
position alike  kept  her  aloof  from  all  political  parties,  en- 
joyed the  repose  that  the  country  was  enjoying,  and  profited 
by  it  to  collect  all  that  remained  of  Parisian  good  society  at 
her  house.  They  came  willingly  to  tend  and  to  amuse  her 
old  age.  To  go  to  her  house  was  a  relief  from  the  restraint 
under  which  I  lived  at  the  Tuileries,  partly  from  the  exam- 
ple of  others  and  partly  from  the  experience  which  I  was 
beginning  to  acquire. 

About  this  time  a  rumor  rose  that  war  with  England  was 
likely  to  break  out  again.  Private  letters  revealing  certain 
enterprises  set  on  foot  in  La  Yendee  were  published.  In 
these  letters  the  English  Government  was  accused  of  aiding 
the  Yendeans,  and  George  Cadoudal  was  named  in  them  as 
the  agent  between  the  English  Government  and  the  Chouans. 
M.  Andre  was  also  mentioned ;  it  was  said  he  had  got  into 
France  secretly,  after  already  having  endeavored,  before  the 
18th  Fructidor,  to  assist  the  Eoyalist  cause.  "While  this  rumor 
was  spreading,  the  Legislative  Assembly  was  called  together. 
The  report  of  the  state  of  the  Kepublic  which  was  laid  be- 
fore it  was  remarkable,  and  gave  rise  to  much  comment.  It 


68  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R&MUSAT. 

included  peace  with  foreign  powers ;  the  conduswm  given  at 
Ratisbon  upon  the  new  partition  of  Germany,  and  recognized 
bj  all  the  sovereigns ;  the  constitution  accepted  by  the  Swiss ; 
the  Concordat ;  the  regulation  of  public  education ;  the  for- 
mation of  the  Institute ;  *  the  improved  administration  of 
justice ;  the  amelioration  of  the  finances ;  the  Civil  Code,  of 
which  a  portion  was  submitted  to  the  Assembly;  various 
public  works  commenced  both  on  our  frontiers  and  in 
France ;  plans  for  Antwerp,  for  Mont  Cenis,  the  banks  of 
the  Rhine,  and  the  canal  de  TOurcq ;  the  acquisition  of  the 
island  of  Elba;  the  possession  of  Saint  Domingo;  several 
proposals  for  laws,  upon  indirect  taxation,  on  the  formation 
of  chambers  of  commerce,  on  the  exercise  of  the  profession 
of  medicine,  and  on  manufactures.  All  this  formed  a  satis- 
factory statement,  and  one  honorable  to  the  Government. 
At  the  end  of  the  report,  however,  a  few  words  were  slipped 
in  with  reference  to  the  possibility  of  a  rupture  with  Eng- 
land, and  the  necessity  for  increasing  the  army.  Neither  the 
Legislative  Assembly  nor  the  Tribunate  offered  any  opposi- 
tion whatever,  and  approbation  which  at  that  time  was  really 
deserved  was  bestowed  upon  so  fair  a  beginning  to  many 
great  undertakings. 

In  March,  bitter  complaints  appeared  in  our  newspapers 
of  certain  pamphlets  against  Bonaparte  which  were  circulated 
in  England.  This  sensitiveness  to  strictures  by  the  English 
free  press  was  only  a  pretext ;  the  occupation  of  Malta  and 
our  intervention  in  the  Government  of  Switzerland  were  the 
true  causes  of  the  rupture.  On  the  8th  of  March,  1803,  a 
message  from  the  King  of  England  to  the  Parliament  de- 
clared that  important  differences  between  the  two  Govern- 
ments had  arisen,  and  complained  of  the  warlike  preparations 
which  were  being  made  in  the  ports  of  Holland.  Immedi- 
ately afterward  the  scene  took  place  in  which  Bonaparte 

*  It  would  be  more  correct  to  say  that  the  First  Consul  reorganized  the  In- 
stitute, by  suppressing  the  class  of  moral  and  political  sciences  on  January  23, 
1803.  This  class  was  not  reestablished  till  after  1830.— P.  R. 


DEPARTURE  OF  ENGLISH  AMBASSADOR.          69 

either  feigned  or  allowed  himself  to  exhibit  violent  anger  in 
the  presence  of  all  the  ambassadors.  A  little  later  he  left 
Paris  for  Saint  Cloud. 

Notwithstanding  his  absorption  in  public  affairs,  he  took 
care  to  direct  one  of  his  Prefects  of  the  Palace  to  write  a 
letter  of  congratulation  and  compliment  to  the  celebrated 
musician  Paisiello  on  the  opera  of  "  Proserpine,"  which  had 
just  been  given  in  Paris.  The  First  Consul  was  exceedingly 
anxious  to  attract  the  celebrated  people  of  all  countries  to 
France,  and  he  paid  them  liberally. 

Shortly  afterward  the  rupture  between  France  and  Eng- 
land took  place,  and  the  English  ambassador — before  whose 
house  a  great  crowd  had  been  in  the  habit  of  assembling 
daily,  in  order  to  judge  of  the  state  of  affairs,  according  to 
the  preparations  for  departure  which  they  could  or  could  not 
perceive  in  the  courtyard — left  Paris  abruptly.  M.  de  Tal- 
leyrand communicated  to  the  Senate  a  statement  of  the  rea- 
sons that  rendered  war  inevitable.  The  Senate  replied  that 
they  could  only  applaud  the  combined  moderation  and  firm- 
ness of  the  First  Consul,  and  sent  a  deputation  to  Saint  Cloud 
to  express  their  gratitude  and  their  devotion.  M.  de  Yau- 
blanc,  when  speaking  in  the  Legislative  Assembly,  exclaimed 
enthusiastically,  "What  chief  of  a  nation  has  ever  shown  a 
greater  love  of  peace  ? "  If  it  were  possible  to  separate  the 
history  of  the  negotiations  of  the  First  Consul  from  that  of 
his  exploits,  it  would  read  like  the  life  of  a  magistrate  whose 
sole  endeavor  had  been  the  establishment  of  peace.  The 
Tribunate  expressed  a  desire  that  energetic  measures  should 
be  taken  ;  and,  after  these  various  acts  of  admiration  and  obe- 
dience, the  session  of  the  Legislative  Assembly  came  to  a  close. 

Then  appeared  certain  violent  notes  against  the  English 
Government,  which  soon  became  numerous,  and  dealt  in 
detail  with  the  attacks  of  the  free  daily  press  in  London. 
Bonaparte  dictated  the  substance  of  these  notes,  and  M. 
Maret  drew  them  up.  Thus  the  sovereign  of  a  great  empire 
entered,  so  to  speak,  into  a  war  of  words  with  journalists, 


70  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE 

and  lowered  his  own  dignity  by  allowing  it  to  be  seen  that 
he  was  stung  by  the  criticisms  of  ephemeral  newspapers, 
whose  comments  it  would  have  been  far  wiser  to  ignore.  It 
was  easy  for  the  English  journalists  to  find  out  how  hard 
their  remarks  hit  the  First  Consul,  and  a  little  later  the  Em- 
peror of  France,  and  they  accordingly  redoubled  their  at- 
tacks. How  many  times,  when  we  saw  him  gloomy  and  out 
of  temper,  did  Mme.  Bonaparte  tell  us  it  was  because  he  had 
read  some  article  against  himself  in  the  "Courier"  or  the 
"  Sun  "  !  He  tried  to  wage  a  pen-and-ink  war  with  the  Eng- 
lish press ;  he  subsidized  certain  journals  in  London,  expended 
a  great  deal  of  money,  and  deceived  no  one  either  in  France 
or  in  England. 

I  have  said  that  he  often  dictated  notes  on  this  subject 
for  the  "  Moniteur."  Bonaparte  dictated  with  great  ease. 
He  never  wrote  anything  with  his  own  hand.  His  hand- 
writing was  bad,  and  as  illegible  by  himself  as  by  others ;  his 
spelling  was  very  defective.  He  utterly  lacked  patience  to 
do  anything  whatever  with  his  own  hands.  The  extreme 
activity  of  his  mind  and  the  habitual  prompt  obedience  ren- 
dered to  him  prevented  him  from  practicing  an  occupation 
in  which  the  mind  must  necessarily  wait  for  the  action  of 
the  body.  Those  who  wrote  from  his  dictation — first  M. 
Bourrienne,  then  M.  Maret,  and  Menneval,  his  private  secre- 
tary— had  made  a  sort  of  shorthand  for  themselves,  in  order 
that  their  pens  might  travel  as  fast  as  his  thoughts.  He  dic- 
tated while  walking  to  and  fro  in  his  cabinet.  When  he 
grew  angry,  he  would  use  violent  imprecations,  which  were 
suppressed  in  writing,  and  which  had  at  least  the  advantage 
of  giving  the  writer  time  to  come  up  with  him.  He  never  re- 
peated anything  that  he  once  said,  even  if  it  had  not  been 
heard ;  and  this  was  very  hard  on  the  poor  secretary,  for  he 
remembered  accurately  what  he  had  said  and  detected  every 
omission.  One  day  he  read  a  tragedy  in  manuscript,  and  it 
interested  him  sufficiently  to  inspire  him  with  a  fancy  to 
make  some  alterations  in  it.  "  Take  a  pen  and  paper,"  said 


M.  MARET.  71 

he  to  M.  de  Remusat,  "  and  write  for  me."  Hardly  giving 
my  husband  time  to  seat  himself  at  a  table,  he  began  to  dic- 
tate so  quickly  that  M.  de  Reniusat,  although  accustomed  to 
write  with  great  rapidity,  was  bathed  in  perspiration  while 
trying  to  follow  him.  Bonaparte  perceived  his  difficulty, 
and  would  stop  now  and  then  to  say,  "  Come,  try  to  under- 
stand me,  for  I  will  not  repeat  what  I  say."  He  always  de- 
rived amusement  from  causing  any  one  uneasiness  and  dis- 
tress. His  great  general  principle,  which  he  applied  to  every- 
thing, both  small  and  great,  was  that  there  could  be  no  zeal 
where  there  was  no  disquiet.  Fortunately  he  forgot  to  ask 
for  the  sheet  of  observations  he  had  dictated.  M.  de  Re- 
musat and  I  have  often  tried  to  read  it  since,  but  we  have 
never  been  able  to  make  out  a  word  of  it. 

M.  Maret,  the  Secretary  of  State,  was  a  man  of  very 
ordinary  intellect ;  indeed,  Bonaparte  did  not  dislike  medi- 
ocrity, because  he  said  he  had  enough  brains  to  give  those 
about  him  what  they  wanted  in  that  way.  M.  Maret  rose  to 
high  favor  in  consequence  of  his  great  facility  in  writing 
from  the  First  Consul's  dictation.  He  accustomed  himself 
to  follow  and  seize  upon  the  first  indication  of  Bonaparte's 
idea  so  faithfully  that  he  could  report  it  just  as  it  came  from 
the  speaker's  brain  without  making  an  observation.  His 
favor  with  his  master  was  perhaps  still  more  largely  due  to 
the  fact  that  he  felt  or  feigned  boundless  devotion  to  him, 
and  it  was  displayed  by  such  enthusiastic  admiration  that 
Bonaparte  could  not  help  being  flattered.  So  far  did  M. 
Maret  carry  the  art  of  skillful  adulation,  that  it  was  posi- 
tively asserted  that  when  he  traveled  with  the  Emperor  he 
took  the  trouble  to  leave  with  his  wife  drafts  of  letters, 
which  she  copied  carefully,  complaining  that  her  husband 
was  so  exclusively  devoted  to  his  master  that  she  could  not 
help  feeling  jealous.  As  all'  the  letters  were  delivered  at 
the  Emperor's  own  quarters  while  he  was  traveling,  and  as 
he  frequently  amused  himself  by  opening  them,  these  clever 
complainings  produced  exactly  the  intended  effect. 


72  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R&MUSAT. 

When  M.  Maret*  was  Minister  of  Foreign  Affairs,  he 
took  care  not  to  follow  the  example  of  M.  de  Talleyrand, 
who  used  to  say  that  it  was,  above  all,  Bonaparte  himself 
whom  it  was  necessary  for  that  minister  to  manage.  Maret, 
on  the  contrary,  fostered  all  Bonaparte's  passions,  and  was 
surprised  that  foreign  sovereigns  should  dare  to  be  angry 
when  he  insulted  them,  or  should  offer  any  resistance  to 
their  own  ruin.  He  thus  advanced  his  personal  fortune  at 
the  expense  of  Europe,  whose  just  interests  an  honest  and 
able  minister  would  have  endeavored  to  protect.  A  courier 
was  always  in  readiness,  by  whom  he  might  dispatch  to  any 
one  of  the  sovereigns  the  first  angry  words  that  escaped 
from  Bonaparte,  when  he  heard  news  which  displeased  him. 
His  weak  complaisance  was  sometimes  injurious  to  his  mas- 
ter. It  caused  more  than  one  rupture  which  was  regretted 
when  the  first  outbreak  of  violence  had  passed,  and  it  proba- 
bly contributed  to  the  fall  of  Bonaparte;  for,  in  the  last 
year  of  his  reign,  while  he  lingered  at  Dresden  uncertain 
what  to  do,  Maret  delayed  for  eight  days  the  retreat  it  was 
so  important  to  make,  because  he  had  not  the  courage  to 
inform  the  Emperor  of  the  defection  of  Bavaria,  a  piece  of 
intelligence  it  was  most  necessary  he  should  learn.f  An 

*  Afterward  Due  de  Bassano. 

f  The  duties  of  the  most  conscientious  editor  do  not  bind  him  to  explain,  to 
justify,  or,  still  less,  to  contradict  the  assertions  or  the  suppositions  of  the  au- 
thor whose  recollections  he  lays  before  the  public.  It  is  evident  that  a  great 
many  of  the  views  expressed  here  are  personal,  or  that  they  represent  public 
opinion  at  that  period  of  our  history.  While  taking  the  responsibility  of  what 
he  prints,  the  editor  does  not  profess  entire  agreement  with  all  the  opinions  of 
the  author ;  and  it  is  not  necessary  to  bring  forward  an  opinion  in  opposition  to 
an  impression,  or  a  new  document  or  a  recent  history  in  contrast  with  a  contem- 
poraneous impression  of  the  facts,  on  every  occasion  of  divergence.  For  in- 
stance, M.  Maret  doubtless  merits  reproach  on  more  than  one  head,  but  the 
accusation  that  he  was  so  base  as  not  to  inform  the  Emperor  in  time  of  the 
defection  of  Bavaria,  in  1813,  is  probably  one  of  those  imputations  which  are 
due  to  the  contempt  with  which  M.  de  Talleyrand  treated  his  pitiful,  insignificant 
successor.  He  is  known  to  have  said,  "  I  never  knew  but  one  man  so  stupid  as 
the  Due  de  Bassano ;  he  was  M.  Maret."  It  is  probable  that  Maret,  on  his 
arrival  at  Leipsic  in  October,  1813,  was  made  aware  of  the  treaty  of  Bavaria 


M.  MARET.  73 

anecdote  of  M.  de  Talleyrand  may  be  related  here,  as  a  sam- 
ple of  the  skill  with  which  that  astute  minister  managed 

with  the  Coalition,  but  that  he  did  not  attach  any  great  importance  to  it,  or  did 
not  dare  speak  of  it  to  a  master  who  was  becoming  day  by  day  less  capable  of 
bearing  the  truth,  and  of  facing  things  which  displeased  him.  The  Due  de  Bas- 
sano  was,  of  all  the  ministers,  the  least  fit  to  cope  with  this  fatal  tendency. 
There  was  in  his  nature  a  mixture  of  sincere  servility  and  blind  admiration, 
which  made  him  a  courtier  rather  than  a  minister.  The  following  is  my  father's 
opinion  of  Bassano :  "  He  was  neither  an  utterly  unintelligent  nor  a  bad  man, 
but  he  was  one  of  those  people  whose  mediocrity,  alike  in  good  or  in  evil,  may 
be  as  pernicious  as  stupidity  or  villainy.  He  had  but  little  intellect ;  his  self- 
sufficiency  and  haughtiness  as  an  improvised  nobleman  and  a  parvenu  statesman 
were  absolutely  absurd.  His  heavy  frivolity,  his  bourgeois  dignity,  and  his  vul- 
gar affectation  obscured  what  there  really  was  in  him.  He  had  a  great  capacity 
for  work,  much  facility  of  expression,  a  quick  and  tolerably  just  perception  of 
the  superficial  and  material  side  of  affairs,  an  accurate  memory  for  details,  a 
faculty  for  attending  to  several  things  at  once,  and  a  talent  for  identifying  him- 
self with  the  idea  or  even  the  sentiment  of  what  was  dictated  to  him.  The  lat- 
ter quality  made  him  a  useful,  or  rather  a  convenient  instrument,  and  as  a 
minister  of  the  second  or  third  rank  he  would  have  done  well.  He  had  no  lean- 
ing toward  wrong  or  injustice.  Violence  directed  against  individuals  was  not  to 
his  liking,  and  it  is  said  that  he  sometimes  averted  it.  He  was,  moreover,  sin- 
cerely attached  to  the  Emperor,  and,  to  my  knowledge,  he  never  endeavored  to 
elude  by  any  meanness  those  misfortunes  which  in  later  years  that  attachment 
drew  down  upon  himself ;  but,  full  of  self-confidence,  greedy  of  favor,  jealous 
of  his  influence,  inflated  with  a  sense  of  bis  own  rank  and  power,  he  regarded 
with  the  eye  of  an  enemy  merit,  independence,  anything  which  might  tend  to 
throw  himself  into  the  shade,  or  did  not  serve  his  ambition,  flatter  his  vanity,  or 
minister  to  his  greatness.  To  keep  his  place  near  the  Emperor  had  become  his 
sole  thought,  and  was  regarded  by  him  as  his  chief  duty ;  to  please  the  Emperor 
in  everything  was  all  his  study  and  all  his  policy.  The  Napoleonic  system,  as 
the  Emperor  practiced  it,  was  to  him  official  truth,  and  official  truth  was  to  him 
all  truth."  In  the  Memoirs  of  Count  Beugnot,  published  a  few  years  ago  by 
his  grandson,  the  following  passage  occurs :  "  M.  Maret  has  an  excellent  heart ; 
he  is  therefore  by  nature  inclined  to  everything  good.  His  mind  is  cultivated, 
and,  if  diplomacy  had  not  drawn  him  away  from  the  profession  of  letters,  he 
would  have  made  a  respectable,  if  not  a  distinguished,  figure  in  literature.  His 
talent  lies  chiefly  in  a  singular  facility  for  reproducing  the  ideas  of  others,  and 
he  has  exercised  it  so  largely  in  editing  the  *  Moniteur,'  and  in  other  work  of  the 
same  nature,  that  his  whole  mind  is,  as  it  were,  absorbed  by  it.  It  was  the 
Abbe  Sieyes  who  originally  procured  the  post  of  Secretary  to  the  Consulate  for 
him.  At  first  he  failed  to  please  the  First  Consul,  precisely  on  account  of  those 
qualities  which  since  then  have  endeared  him  to  Bonaparte — his  obsequiousness, 
his  eagerness,  his  propensity  to  merge  his  own  mind  in  that  of  another ;  but  by 


74:      MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R&MUSAT. 

Bonaparte,  and  also  of  the  completeness  of  his  own  ascen- 
dancy. 

A  treaty  of  peace  between  England  and  France  was  be- 
ing arranged  at  Amiens  in  the  spring  of  1810.  Certain 
difficulties  which  had  arisen  between  the  plenipotentiaries 
were  giving  rise  to  some  little  uneasiness,  and  Bonaparte 
was  anxiously  expecting  dispatches.  A  courier  arrived,  and 
brought  to  the  Minister  of  Foreign  Affairs  the  much-desired 
signature.  M.  de  Talleyrand  put  it  in  his  pocket  and  went 
to  the  First  Consul.  He  appeared  before  him  with  that  im- 
movable countenance  which  he  wears  on  every  occasion. 
For  a  whole  hour  he  remained  with  Bonaparte,  transacting 
a  number  of  important  matters  of  business,  and  when  all  was 
done,  "  Now,"  said  he,  smiling,  "  I  am  going  to  give  you  a 
great  pleasure ;  the  treaty  is  signed,  and  here  it  is."  Bona- 
parte was  astounded  at  this  fashion  of  announcing  the  mat- 
ter. "  Why  did  you  not  tell  me  at  once  ? "  he  demanded. 
"  Ah,"  replied  M.  de  Talleyrand,  "  because  then  you  would 
not  have  listened  to  me  on  any  other  subject.  When  you 
are  pleased,  you  are  not  always  pleasant."  The  self-control 
displayed  in  this  reticence  struck  the  Consul,  "  and,"  added 
M.  de  Talleyrand,  "  did  not  make  him  angry,  because  he  saw 
immediately  how  far  it  might  be  made  useful  to  himself." 

degrees,  as  the  First  Consul  absorbed  authority,  and  became  accustomed  to  rule 
alone,  he  grew  reconciled  to  the  Secretary  of  the  Consulate.  The  despotism  of 
the  one  and  the  favor  of  the  other  grew  in  the  same  proportion."  ("  Mdmoires 
du  Comte  Beugnot,"  vol.  ii.,  p.  316.)  Baron  Ernouf  has  recently  published  an 
apology  for  the  Due  de  Bassano,  under  the  title  "  Maret,  Due  de  Bassano." 
These  several  estimates,  which  are  different  without  being  contradictory,  show 
that  the  influence  of  the  Due  de  Bassano  in  the  Imperial  councils  was  not  bene- 
ficial to  the  common  weal.  He  was  apparently  one  of  those  who  think  that  a 
disagreeable  disclosure  or  unwelcome  advice  is  more  hurtful  to  the  offerer  than 
useful  to  the  recipient.  Such  people  are  careful  rather  to  foster  the  weaknesses 
than  to  consider  the  actual  situation  of  their  masters,  and  to  serve  their  passions 
at  the  expense  of  their  interests.  Such  flatterers  are  doubtless  detestable,  but 
the  source  of  their  crimes  is  absolute  power.  It  is  because  the  monarch  is  all- 
powerful  that  it  is  dangerous  to  displease  him.  All  meanness,  as  well  as  all 
justice,  emanates  from  the  king. — P.  R. 


MARSHAL  BERTHIEB.  75 

Another  person,  who  was  really  more  attached  to  Bona- 
parte, and  quite  as  demonstrative  in  his  admiration  for  him 
as  M.  Maret,  was  Marshal  Berthier,  Prince  of  Wagram. 
He  had  served  in  the  campaign  in  Egypt,  and  had  become 
strongly  attached  to  his  General.  Berthier's  friendship  for 
him  was  so  great  that,  little  as  Bonaparte  valued  anything 
coming  from  the  heart,  he  could  not  but  respond  to  it  in 
some  degree.  The  sentiment  was,  however,  very  unequally 
divided  between  them,  and  was  used  by  the  powerful  one  of 
the  two  as  a  means  of  exaction.  One  day  Bonaparte  said  to 
M.  de  Talleyrand :  "  I  really  can  not  understand  how  a  rela- 
tion that  bears  some  appearance  of  friendship  has  established 
itself  between  Berthier  and  me.  I  don't  indulge  in  useless 
sentiments,  and  Berthier  is  so  uninteresting  that  I  do  not 
know  why  I  should  care  at  all  about  him  ;  and  yet,  when  I 
think  of  it,  I  believe  I  really  have  some  liking  for  him." 
"  If  you  do  care  about  him,"  replied  M.  de  Talleyrand,  "  do 
you  know  the  reason  why?  It  is  because  he  believes  in  you." 

These  anecdotes,  which  I  set  down  as  they  recur  to  my 
memory,  did  not  come  to  my  knowledge  till  a  much  later 
period,  when  my  greater  intimacy  with  M.  de  Talleyrand 
revealed  to  me  the  chief  traits  in  Bonaparte's  character.  At 
first  I  was  completely  deceived  by  him,  and  was  very  happy 
to  be  so.  I  knew  he  had  genius,  I  saw  that  he  was  disposed 
to  make  amends  for  the  passing  wrongs  he  did  his  wife,  and 
I  remarked  his  friendship  for  Berthier  with  pleasure ;  he 
caressed  little  Napoleon  in  my  presence,  and  seemed  to  love 
him.  I  regarded  him  as  accessible  to  kindly  natural  feelings, 
and  my  youthful  imagination  arrayed  him  in  all  those  quali- 
ties which  I  desired  to  find  in  him.  It  is  only  just  to  him 
also  to  admit  that  excess  of  power  intoxicated  him ;  that  his 
passions  were  increased  in  violence  by  the  facility  with  which 
he  was  enabled  to  gratify  them ;  but  that  while  he  was  young, 
and  as  yet  uncertain  of  the  future,  he  frequently  hesitated 
between  the  open  exhibition  of  vice  and,  at  least,  the  affec- 
tation of  virtue. 


76  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE 

After  the  declaration  of  war  with  England,  somebody  (I 
do  not  know  who)  suggested  to  Bonaparte  the  idea  of  an  in- 
vasion by  means  of  flat-bottomed  boats.  I  can  not  say  with 
certainty  whether  he  really  believed  in  this  plan,  or  whether 
he  only  used  it  as  a  pretext  for  collecting  and  increasing  his 
army,  which  he  assembled  at  the  camp  of  Boulogne.  So 
many  people  maintained  that  a  descent  upon  the  shores  of 
England  in  this  way  was  practicable,  that  it  is  quite  possible 
he  may  have  thought  fate  had  a  success  of  the  kind  in  store 
for  him.  Enormous  works  were  begun  in  our  ports,  and  in 
some  of  the  Belgian  towns ;  the  army  marched  to  the  coast, 
and  Generals  Soult  and  Ney  were  sent  to  command  it  at 
different  points.  The  idea  of  a  conquest  of  England  fired 
the  general  imagination ;  and  even  the  English  themselves 
began  to  feel  uneasy,  and  thought  it  necessary  to  make  some 
preparations  for  defense.  Attempts  were  made  to  excite  the 
public  mind  against  the  English  by  dramatic  representations ; 
scenes  from  the  life  of  "William  the  Conqueror  were  repre- 
sented at  the  theatres.  The  conquest  of  Hanover  was  easily 
effected,  but  then  came  the  blockade  of  our  ports  that  did  us 
so  much  harm. 

During  the  summer  of  this  year  (1803)  a  journey  to  Bel- 
gium was  arranged,  and  Bonaparte  required  that  it  should  be 
made  with  great  magnificence.  He  had  little  trouble  in  per- 
suading Mme.  Bonaparte  to  take  with  her  everything  that 
could  make  an  impression  on  the  people  to  whom  she  was 
about  to  exhibit  herself.  Mme.  Talhouet  and  I  were  selected 
to  accompany  her,  and  the  Consul  gave  me  thirty  thousand 
francs  for  those  expenses  which  he  prescribed.  He  set  out 
on  the  24:th  of  June,  with  a  cortege  of  several  carriages,  two 
generals  of  his  guard,  his  aides-de-camp,  Duroc,  two  Prefects 
of  the  Palace  (M.  de  Remusat  and  a  Piedmontese  named 
Salmatoris),  and  commenced  the  journey  in  great  pomp. 

Before  we  set  out,  we  went  for  one  day  to  Mortef ontaine, 
an  estate  which  had  been  purchased  by  Joseph  Bonaparte. 
All  the  family  were  assembled  there,  and  a  strange  occur- 


THE  JOURNEY  TO  BELGIUM.  77 

rence  took  place.  We  passed  the  morning  in  walking  about 
the  gardens,  which  are  beautiful.  When  dinner  hour  ap- 
proached, a  question  arose  about  the  placing  of  the  guests. 
The  elder  Mme.  Bonaparte  was  at  Mortef  ontaine,  and  Joseph 
told  his  brother  that  he  intended  to  take  his  mother  in  to 
dinner,  and  to  place  her  on  his  right  hand,  while  Mme.  Bona- 
parte was  to  sit  on  his  left.  The  First  Consul  took  offense 
at  this  arrangement,  which  placed  his  wife  in  the  second  rank, 
and  insisted  that  his  brother  should  transfer  their  mother  to 
that  position.  Joseph  refused,  and  no  argument  could  in- 
duce him  to  give  way.  When  dinner  was  announced,  Joseph 
took  his  mother's  hand,  and  Lucien  escorted  Mme.  Bonaparte. 
The  First  Consul,  incensed  at  this  opposition  to  his  will,  hur- 
riedly crossed  the  room,  took  the  arm  of  his  wife,  passed  out 
before  every  one,  seated  her' beside  himself,  and  then,  turn- 
ing to  me,  ordered  me  to  place  myself  near  him.  The  com- 
pany were  all  greatly  embarrassed,  I  even  more  so  than  the 
others ;  and  Mme.  Joseph  Bonaparte,*  to  whom  some  polite- 
ness was  due,  found  herself  at  the  bottom  of  the  table,  as  if 
she  were  not  one  of  the  family. 

The  stiffness  and  gloom  of  that  dinner-party  may  be  easily 
imagined.  The  brothers  were  angry,  Mme.  Bonaparte  was 
wretched,  and  I  was  excessively  embarrassed  by  my  promi- 
nent position.  During  the  dinner  Bonaparte  did  not  address 
a  single  member  of  his  family ;  he  occupied  himself  with  his 
wife,  talked  to  me,  and  chose  this  opportune  occasion  to  in- 
form me  that  he  had  that  morning  restored  to  my  cousin,  the 
Vicomte  da  Yergennes,  certain  forests  which  had  long  been 
sequestrated  on  account  of  his  emigration,  but  which  had  not 
been  sold.  I  was  touched  by  this  mark  of  his  kindness,  but 
it  was  very  vexatious  to  me  that  he  selected  such  a  moment 
to  tell  me  of  it,  because  the  gratitude  which  I  would  other- 
wise have  gladly  expressed,  and  the  joy  which  I  really  felt, 
made  me  appear  to  the  observers  of  the  little  scene  to  be 

*  Joseph  Bonaparte  had  married  Mile.  Julia  Clary,  the  daughter  of  a  mer- 
chant at  Marseilles.—?.  B. 


78  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  KfiMUSAT. 

talking  freely  to  him,  while  I  was  really  in  a  state  of  painful 
constraint.  The  remainder  of  the  day  passed  drearily,  as 
may  be  supposed,  and  we  left  Mortefontaine  on  the  morrow. 

An  accident  which  happened  at  the  beginning  of  our 
journey  increased  the  regard  which  I  was  then  happy  to  feel 
for  Bonaparte  and  his  wife.  He  traveled  with  her  and  one 
of  the  generals  of  his  guard,  and  his  carriage  was  preceded 
by  one  containing  Duroc  and  three  aides-de-camp.  A  third 
carriage  was  occupied  by  Mme.  Talhouet,  M.  de  Remusat, 
and  myself  ;  two  others  followed.  Shortly  after  we  had  left 
Compiegne,  where  we  visited  a  military  school,  on  our  way 
to  Amiens,  our  carriage  was  violently  overturned.  Mme. 
Talhouet's  head  was  badly  cut ;  M.  de  Remusat  and  I  were 
only  bruised.  With  some  trouble  we  were  extricated  from 
the  carriage.  Bonaparte,  who  was  on  in  front,  was  told  of 
this  accident ;  he  at  once  alighted  from  his  carriage,  and 
with  Mme.  Bonaparte,  who  was  much  frightened  about  me, 
hastened  to  join  us  at  a  cottage,  whither  we  had  been  taken. 
I  was  so  terrified  that,  as  soon  as  I  saw  Bonaparte,  I  begged 
him  with  tears  to  send  me  back  to  Paris ;  I  already  disliked 
traveling  as  much  as  did  the  pigeon  of  La  Fontaine,  and  in 
my  distress  I  cried  out  that  I  must  return  to  my  mother  and 
my  children. 

Bonaparte  said  a  few  words  intended  to  calm  me ;  but, 
finding  that  he  could  not  succeed  in  doing  so,  he  took  my  arm 
in  his,  gave  orders  that  Mme.  Talhouet  should  be  placed  in 
one  of  the  carriages,  and,  after  satisfying  himself  that  M.-  de 
Remusat  was  none  the  worse  for  the  accident,  led  .me,  fright- 
ened as  I  was,  to  his  own  carriage,  and  made  me  get  in  with 
him.  "We  set  off  again,  and  he  took  pains  to  cheer  up  his 
wife  and  me,  and  told  us,  laughingly,  to  kiss  each  other  and 
cry,  " because,"  he  said,  "that  always  does  women  good." 
After  a  while  his  animated  conversation  distracted  my 
thoughts,  and  my  fear  of  the  further  journey  subsided. 
Mme.  Bonaparte  having  referred  to  the  grief  my  mother 
would  feel  if  any  harm  happened  to  me,  Bonaparte  ques- 


ENTHUSIASM  AT  AMIENS.  79 

tioned  me  about  her,  and  appeared  to  be  well  aware  of  the 
high  esteem  in  which  she  was  held  in  society.  Indeed,  it 
was  largely  to  this  that  his  attention  to  me  was  due.  At  that 
period,  when  so  many  people  still  held  back  from  the  ad- 
vances he  made  to  them,  he  was  greatly  gratified  that  my 
mother  had  consented  to  my  holding  a  place  in  his  household. 
At  that  time  I  was  in  his  eyes  almost  a  personage  Whose  ex- 
ample would,  he  hoped,  be  followed. 

On  the  evening  of  the  same  day  we  arrived  at  Amiens, 
where  we  were  received  with  enthusiasm  impossible  to  de- 
scribe. The  horses  were  taken  from  the  carriage,  and  re- 
placed by  the  inhabitants,  who  insisted  on  drawing  it  them- 
selves. I  was  the  more  affected  by  this  spectacle,  as  it  was 
absolutely  novel  to  me.  Alas !  since  I  had  been  of  an  age  to 
observe  what  was  passing  around  me,  I  had  witnessed  only 
scenes  of  terror  and  woe,  I  had  heard  only  sounds  of  hate  and 
menace ;  and  the  joy  of  the  inhabitants  of  Amiens,  the  gar- 
lands that  decorated  our  route,  the  triumphal  arches  erected 
in  honor  of  him  who  was  represented  on  all  these  devices  as 
the  saviour  of  France,  the  crowds  who  fought  for  a  sight  of 
him,  the  universal  blessings  which  could  not  have  been  ut- 
tered to  order — the  whole  spectacle,  in  fact,  so  affected  me 
that  I  could  not  restrain  my  tears.  Mme.  Bonaparte  wept ; 
I  saw  even  the  eyes  of  Bonaparte  himself  glisten  for  a  mo- 
ment. 


CHAPTEE  III. 

(1803.) 

Continuation  of  the  Journey  to  Belgium— Opinions  of  the  First  Consul  on  Grati- 
tude, on  Glory,  and  on  the  French — Ghent,  Malines,  and  Brussels — The  Clergy 
— M.  de  Koquelaure — Eetum  to  Saint  Cloud — Preparations  for  an  Invasion  of 
England— Marriage  of  Mme.  Leclerc— Journey  of  the  First  Consul  to  Boulogne 
—Illness  of  M.  de  E&nusat— I  rejoin  him— Conversations  with  the  First  Consul. 

ON  Bonaparte's  arrival  in  town,  the  Prefect  of  the  Palace 
was  directed  to  summon  the  various  persons  in  authority,  that 
they  might  be  presented  to  him.  The  prefect,  the  mayor, 
the  bishop,  the  presidents  of  the  tribunals,  would  read  an 
address  to  him,  and  then,  turning  to  Mme.  Bonaparte,  make 
her  a  little  speech  also.  According  to  the  mood  he  happened 
to  be  in,  Bonaparte  would  listen  to  these  discourses  to  the 
end,  or  interrupt  them  by  questioning  the  deputation  on  the 
nature  of  their  respective  functions,  or  on  the  district  in 
which  they  exercised  them.  He  rarely  put  questions  with 
an  appearance  of  interest,  but  rather  with  the  air  of  a  man 
who  desires  to  show  his  knowledge,  and  wants  to  see  whether 
he  can  be  answered.  These  speeches  were  addressed  to  the 
Republic ;  but  any  one  who  reads  them  may  see  that  in 
almost  every  respect  they  might  have  been  addressed  to  a 
sovereign.  Indeed,  the  mayors  of  some  of  the  Flemish 
towns  went  so  far  as  to  urge  the  Consul  to  "  complete  the 
happiness  of  the  world  by  exchanging  his  precarious  title  for 
one  better  suited  to  the  lofty  destiny  to  which  he  was  called." 
I  was  present  the  first  time  that  happened,  and  I  kept  my 
eyes  fixed  upon  Bonaparte.  When  these  very  words  were 
uttered,  he  had  some  difficulty  in  checking  the  smile  that 


THE  JOURNEY  TO  BELGIUM.  81 

hovered  about  his  lips ;  but,  putting  strong  control  upon 
himself,  he  interrupted  the  orator,  and  replied,  in  a  tone  of 
feigned  anger,  that  it  would  be  unworthy  of  him  to  usurp 
an  authority  which  must  affect  the  existence  of  the  Republic. 
Thus,  like  Caesar,  he  repudiated  the  crown,  though  perhaps 
he  was  not  ill  pleased  that  they  were  beginning  to  offer  it  to 
him.  The  good  people  of  the  provinces  we  visited  were 
not  very  far  wrong ;  for  the  splendor  that  surrounded  us, 
the  sumptuousness  of  that  military  yet  brilliant  court,  the 
strict  ceremonial,  the  imperious  tone  of  the  master,  the  sub- 
mission of  all  about  him,  and,  finally,  the  expectation  that 
homage  should  be  paid  the  wife  of  the  first  magistrate,  to 
whom  the  Republic  certainly  owed  none — all  this  strongly 
resembled  the  progress  of  a  king. 

After  these  audiences,  Bonaparte  generally  rode  out  on 
horseback ;  he  showed  himself  to  the  people,  who  followed 
him  with  acclamations  ;  he  visited  the  public  monuments 
and  manufactories,  but  always  in  a  hurried  way,  for  he  could 
never  get  over  that  precipitation  which  gave  him  an  ill-bred 
air.  Afterward  he  would  give  a  dinner,  or  attend  a  fete 
which  had  been  prepared  for  him,  and  this  was  always  the 
most  wearisome  part  of  the  business  to  him.  "  I  am  not 
made  for  pleasure,"  he  would  say,  in  a  melancholy  tone. 
Then  he  would  leave  the  town,  after  having  received  peti- 
tions, attended  to  complaints,  and  distributed  alms  and  pres- 
ents. He  was  accustomed,  when  on  a  journey  of  this  sort, 
to  inform  himself  at  each  town  he  went  to  what  public 
establishments  were  wanting  there,  and  he  would  order  them 
to  be  founded,  in  commemoration  of  his  visit.  The  inhabi- 
tants would  load  him  with  blessings  for  this  munificence. 
But  shortly  afterward  a  mandate  from  the  Minister  of  the 
Interior  would  arrive,  drawn  up  in  this  form  :  "  In  conform- 
ity with  the  gracious  permission  of  the  First  Consul "  (later 
it  was  "the  Emperor"),  "you  are  directed,  citizen  mayors, 
to  have  such  and  such  a  building  constructed,  taking  care 
that  the  expenses  shall  be  defrayed  by  the  funds  of  your 


82  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  RfiMUSAT. 

commune."  Thus  these  towns  would  suddenly  find  them- 
selves obliged  to  alter  the  disposition  of  their  funds,  very 
often  at  a  moment  when  they  were  not  sufficient  for  neces- 
sary expenses.  The  Prefect  took  care,  however,  that  the 
orders  were  executed,  or  at  least  the  most  useful  portion  of 
of  them ;  and  it  must  be  admitted  that,  from  one  end 
France  to  the  other,  everything  was  being  embellished,  and 
that  the  general  prosperity  was  such  that  new  works,  even  of 
the  most  important  nature,  might  safely  be  undertaken  every- 
where. 

At  Arras,  at  Lille,  and  at  Dunkirk,  we  had  similar  re- 
ceptions; but  it  seemed  to  me  that  the  enthusiasm  cooled 
down  when  we  got  beyond  the  former  boundaries  of  France. 
At  Ghent,  especially,  we  detected  some  coldness  in  the  popu- 
lar greeting.  In  vain  did  the  authorities  endeavor  to  stir  up 
the  zeal  of  the  inhabitants ;  they  were  curious,  but  not  en- 
thusiastic. Bonaparte  was  a  little  annoyed,  and  inclined  to 
proceed  without  delay.  He  thought  better  of  this,  however, 
and  said  in  the  evening  to  his  wife :  "  These  people  are 
bigoted  and  under  the  influence  of  the  priests ;  we  must  re- 
main a*  long  time  at  church  to-morrow,  and  propitiate  the 
clergy  by  some  favor.  In  this  way  we  shall  regain  lost 
ground."  Next  day  he  attended  high  mass  with  every  ap- 
pearance of  devoutness ;  he  talked  to  the  Bishop,  whom  he 
completely  captivated,  and  by  degrees  he  obtained  the  popu- 
lar acclamations  he  desired.  At  Ghent  he  met  the  daughters 
of  the  Due  de  Yillequier,  formerly  one  of  the  four  Gentle- 
men of  the  Chamber  to  the  King.  These  ladies  were  nieces 
of  the  Bishop,  and  Bonaparte  restored  to  them  the  beautiful 
estate  of  Yillequier,  with  its  large  revenues.  I  had  the  hap- 
piness of  contributing  to  this  restitution,  by  urging  it  with 
all  my  might,  both  upon  Bonaparte  and  upon  his  wife.  The 
two  amiable  young  ladies  have  never  forgotten  this  to  me. 
When  I  assured  Bonaparte  of  their  gratitude,  "  Ah,"  said  he, 
"  gratitude !  That  is  a  poetic  word  which  has  no  meaning 
in  times  of  revolution ;  and  what  I  have  just  done  would  not 


OPINIONS  OF  THE  FIRST  CONSUL.  83 

prevent  your  friends  from  rejoicing  if  some  Koyalist  emis- 
sary should  succeed  in  assassinating  me  during  this  journey." 
And,  as  I  betrayed  the  surprise  with  which  I  heard  him,  he 
continued :  "  You  are  young ;  you  do  not  know  what  politi- 
cal hatred  is.  It  is  like  a  pair  of  spectacles :  one  sees  every- 
body, every  opinion,  or  every  sentiment  only  through  the 
glass  of  one's  passions.  Hence,  nothing  is  bad  or  good  of  it- 
self, but  simply  according  to  the  party  to  which  one  belongs. 
In  reality,  this  mode  of  seeing  is  convenient,  and  we  profit 
by  it ;  for  we  also  have  our  spectacles,  and,  if  we  do  not  see 
things  through  our  passions,  we  see  them  through  our  in- 
terests." 

"  But,"  I  replied,  "  where,  in  such  a  system,  do  you  place 
the  applause  which  you  do  care  to  win  ?  For  what  class  of 
men  do  you  spend  your  life  in  great  and  often  perilous  en- 
terprises ? " 

"  Ah,"  he  answered,  "  one  can  not  avoid  L  one's  destiny ; 
he  who  is  called  can  not  resist.  Besides,  human  pride  finds 
the  public  it  desires  in  that  ideal  world  which  is  called  pos- 
terity. He  who  believes  that,  a  hundred  years  hence,  a  fine 
poem,  or  even  a  line  in  one,  will  recall  a  great  action  of  his 
own,  or  that  a  painting  will  commemorate  it,  has  his  imagi- 
nation fired  by  that  idea.  The  battle-field  has  no  dangers, 
the  cannon  roars  in  vain  ;  to  him  it  is  only  that  sound  which, 
a  thousand  years  hence,  will  carry  a  brave  man's  name  to  the 
ears  of  our  distant  descendants." 

"  I  shall  never  be  able  to  understand,"  I  continued,  "  how 
a  man  can  expose  himself  to  every  sort  of  danger  for  fame's 
sake,  if  his  own  inward  sentiment  be  only  contempt  for  the 
men  of  his  own  time." 

Here  Bonaparte  interrupted  me  quickly.  "  I  do  not  de- 
spise men,  madame — that  is  a  thing  you  must  never  say ;  and 
I  particularly  esteem  the  French." 

I  smiled  at  this  abrupt  declaration,  and,  as  he  guessed 
why,  he  smiled  also ;  and  approaching  me  and  pulling  my 
ear,  which  was,  as  I  have  already  said,  a  trick  of  his  when 


84:  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  RfiMUSAT. 

he  was  in  a  good  humor,  he  repeated,  "  Do  you  hear,  ma- 
dame  ?  you  must  never  say  that  I  despise  the  French." 

From  Ghent  we  went  to  Antwerp,  where  we  were  re- 
ceived with  a  special  ceremony.  On  occasions  of  visits  from 
kings  and  princes,  the  people  of  Antwerp  are  in  the  habit  of 
parading  through  their  streets  a  giant,  who  never  makes  his 
appearance  except  on  such  solemn  festivals.  Although  we 
were  neither  king  nor  prince,  we  were  obliged  to  yield  to 
the  people's  wish  in  this  matter,  and  it  put  Bonaparte  in 
good  humor  with  the  town  of  Antwerp.  He  occupied  him- 
self much  while  there  with  the  important  extension  which 
he  designed  for  its  harbor,  and  gave  orders  for  the  com- 
mencement of  the  great  works  which  have  since  been  exe- 
cuted there. 

On  the  way  from  Antwerp  to  Brussels  we  stopped  at 
Malines  for  a  few  hours,  and  there  we  saw  the  new  Arch- 
bishop, M.  de  Roquelaure.*  He  was  Bishop  of  Senlis  under 
Louis  XVI.,  and  had  been  the  intimate  friend  of  my  great- 
uncle,  the  Count  de  Yergennes.  I  had  seen  a  great  deal  of 
him  in  my  childhood,  and  I  was  glad  to  meet  him  again. 
Bonaparte  talked  to  him  in  a  very  insinuating  manner.  At 
this  period  he  affected  great  esteem  for  the  priests,  and  care 
for  their  interests.  He  knew  how  steadily  religion  supports 
royalty,  and  he  hoped  that  through  the  priests  he  might  get 
the  people  taught  that  catechism  which  we  have  since  seen, 
in  which  all  who  did  not  love  and  obey  the  Emperor  were 
threatened  with  eternal  condemnation.  For  the  first  time 
since  the  Revolution,  the  clergy  found  the  Government  oc- 
cupying itself  with  their  welfare,  and  giving  them  rank  and 
consideration.  They  showed  themselves  grateful,  and  were 
useful  to  Bonaparte  until  the  moment  came  when  he  endea- 
vored to  impose  his  ever-growing  despotism  on  their  con- 

*  M.  de  Roquelaure  had  been  Bishop  of  Senlis  and  Almoner  to  the  King. 
He  became  Archbishop  of  Malines  in  1802.  The  Emperor  replaced  him  in  1808 
by  the  Abbe  de  Pradt.  He  was  a  member  of  the  Academie  Fran9aise,  and  died 
in  1818.  He  did  not  belong  to  the  family  of  the  Due  de  Roquelaure. — P.  R. 


ENTRY  INTO  BRUSSELS.  85 

sciences,  and  the  priests  had  to  choose  between  him  and  their 
duty.  At  this  time,  however,  the  words,  "  He  has  reestab- 
lished religion,"  *  were  in  every  pious  mouth,  and  told  im- 
mensely in  his  favor. 

Our  entry  into  Brussels  was  magnificent.  Several  fine 
regiments  awaited  the  First  Consul  at  the  gate,  where  he 
mounted  his  horse.  Mine.  Bonaparte  found  a  superb  car- 
riage, presented  to  her  by  the  city,  awaiting  her ;  the  streets 
were  lavishly  decorated,  cannon  were  fired,  the  bells  were 
rung ;  the  numerous  clergy  were  assembled  in  great  pomp 
on  the  steps  of  all  the  churches ;  there  was  an  immense 
crowd  of  the  population,  and  also  many  foreigners,  and  the 
weather  was  beautiful.  I  was  enchanted.  Our  stay  in 
Brussels  was  a  succession  of  brilliant  fetes.  The  French 
ministers,  Consul  Lebrun,  the  envoys  from  the  foreign 
courts  who  had  business  to  arrange,  came  to  meet  us  there. 
At  Brussels  I  heard  M.  de  Talleyrand  reply  in  an  adroit  and 
flattering  manner  to  a  question  suddenly  put  to  him  by  Bona- 
parte, who  asked  him  how  he  had  so  rapidly  made  his  great 
fortune  ?  "  Nothing  could  be  more  simple,"  replied  M.  de 
Talleyrand ;  "  I  bought  stock  on  the  17th  Brumaire,  and  I 
sold  it  again  on  the  19th." 

One  Sunday  we  were  to  visit  the  cathedral  in  great  state. 
M.  de  Remusat  went  early  in  the  morning  to  the  church,  to 
arrange  the  ceremony.  He  had  been  directed  not  to  object 
to  any  honor  which  the  clergy  might  propose  to  pay  to  the 
First  Consul  on  this  occasion.  As,  however,  it  was  arranged 
that  the  priests  should  go  to  the  great  doors  with  the  canopy 
and  the  cross  to  receive  the  First  Consul,  a  question  arose 
whether  Mme.  Bonaparte  was  to  share  this  distinction  with 
him,  and  Bonaparte  did  not  venture  to  bring  her  so  promi- 
nently forward.  She  was,  therefore,  placed  in  a  tribune 
with  the  Second  Consul.  At  twelve  o'clock,  the  hour  agreed 
upon,  the  clergy  left  the  altar,  and  proceeded  to  the  grand 

*  Bonaparte,  knowing  that  in  Belgium  he  would  have  to  deal  with  religious 
people,  took  Cardinal  Caprera  with  him.     The  Cardinal  was  extremely  useful. 


86  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  RfiMUSAT. 

entrance  of  the  magnificent  Church  of  Sainte  Gudule.  They 
awaited  the  arrival  of  the  First  Consul,  but  he  did  not  ap- 
pear. At  first  they  were  astonished,  then  alarmed  ;  but  they 
presently  perceived  that  he  had  slipped  into  the  church,  and 
seated  himself  on  the  throne  which  was  prepared  for  him. 
The  priests,  surprised  and  disconcerted,  returned  to  the  sanc- 
tuary, and  commenced  divine  service.  The  fact  was,  just  as 
he  was  setting  out,  Bonaparte  was  told  that,  at  a  similar 
ceremony,  Charles  Y.  had  preferred  to  enter  the  Church  of 
Sainte  Gudule  by  a  little  side-door  which  had  ever  after  been 
called  by  his  name ;  and  it  seemed  he  had  taken  a  fancy  to 
use  the  same  entrance,  hoping,  perhaps,  that  henceforth  it 
would  be  called  the  door  of  Charles  Y.  and  of  Bonaparte. 

One  morning  the  numerous  and  magnificent  regiments 
which  had  been  brought  to  Brussels  were  reviewed  by  the 
Consul,  or,  as  on  this  occasion  I  ought  to  call  him,  the  Gen- 
eral. His  reception  by  the  troops  was  nothing  short  of  rap- 
turous. It  was  well  worth  seeing  how  he  talked  to  the  sol- 
diers— how  he  questioned  them  one  after  the  other  respect- 
ing their  campaigns  or  their  wounds ;  taking  particular  in- 
terest in  the  men  who  had  accompanied  him  to  Egypt.  I 
have  heard  Mme.  Bonaparte  say  that  her  husband  was  in  the 
constant  habit  of  poring  over  the  list  of  what  are  called  the 
cadres  of  the  army,  at  night,  before  he  slept.  He  would  go 
to  sleep  repeating  the  names  of  the  corps,  and  even  those  of 
some  of  the  individuals  who  composed  them ;  he  kept  those 
names  in  a  corner  of  his  memory,  and  this  habit  came  to  his 
aid  when  he  wanted  to  recognize  a  soldier,  and  to  give  him 
the  pleasure  of  a  cheering  word  from  his  General.  He  spoke 
to  the  subalterns  in  a  tone  of  good  fellowship,  which  de- 
lighted them  all,  as  he  reminded  them  of  their  common  feats 
of  arms.  Afterward,  when  his  armies  became  so  numerous, 
when  his  battles  became  so  deadly,  he  disdained  to  exercise 
this  kind  of  fascination.  Besides,  death  had  extinguished  so 
many  remembrances,  that  in  a  few  years  it  became  difficult 
for  him  to  find  any  great  number  of  the  companions  of  his 


M.  MONGE.  87 

early  exploits ;  and,  when  lie  addressed  his  soldiers  before 
leading  them  into  battle,  it  was  as  a  perpetually  renewed 
posterity,  to  which  the  preceding  and  destroyed  army  had 
bequeathed  its  glory.  But  even  this  somber  style  of  en- 
couragement availed  for  a  long  time  with  a  nation  which  be- 
lieved itself  to  be  fulfilling  its  destiny  while  sending  its  sons 
year  after  year  to  die  for  Bonaparte. 

I  have  said  that  Bonaparte  took  great  pleasure  in  recall- 
ing his  campaign  in  Egypt;  it  was,  indeed,  his  favorite 
theme  of  discourse.  He  had  taken  with  him,  on  the  journey 
I  am  describing,  M.  Monge  the  savant,  whom  he  had  made 
a  senator,  and  whom  he  liked  particularly,  for  the  sole  reason 
that  he  was  among  the  number  of  the  members  of  the  Insti- 
tute who  had  gone  with  him  to  Egypt.  Bonaparte  often 
talked  to  him  of  that  expedition — "  that  land  of  poetry,"  he 
would  say,  "  which  was  trodden  by  Caesar  and  Pompey."  He 
would  speak  with  enthusiasm  of  the  time  when  he  appeared 
before  the  amazed  Orientals  like  a  new  Prophet;  for  the 
sway  he  exercised  over  imagination,  being  the  most  complete 
of  all,  he  prized  more  highly  than  any  other.  "  In  France," 
he  said,  "  one  must  conquer  everything  at  the  point  of  de- 
monstration. In  Egypt  we  did  not  require  our  mathematics ; 
did  we,  Monge  ? " 

It  was  at  Brussels  that  I  began  to  get  accustomed  to  M. 
de  Talleyrand,  and  to  shake  off  the  earlier  impression  made 
by  his  disdainful  manner  and  sarcastic  disposition.  The  idle- 
ness of  a  court  life  makes  the  day  seem  a  hundred  hours 
long,  and  it  happened  that  we  often  passed  many  of  those 
hours  together  in  the  salon,  waiting  until  it  should  please 
Bonaparte  to  come  in  or  to  go  out.  It  was  during  one  of 
these  weary  waits  that  I  heard  M.  de  Talleyrand  complain 
that  his  family  had  not  realized  any  of  the  plans  he  had 
formed  for  them.  His  brother,  Archambault  de  Perigord, 
had  just  been  sent  into  exile  for  having  indulged  in  the  sar- 
castic language  common  to  the  family.  He  had,  however, 
applied  it  to  persons  of  rank  too  high  to  be  ridiculed  with 


88  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  RtiMUSAT. 

impunity,  and  he  had  also  offended  by  refusing  to  give  his 
daughter  in  marriage  to  Eugene  de  Beauharnais,  to  whom 
he  had  preferred  Count  Just  de  Noailles.  M.  de  Talleyrand, 
who  was  quite  as  anxious  as  Mme.  Bonaparte  that  his  niece 
should  marry  Beauharnais,  blamed  his  brother's  conduct 
severely,  and  I  could  perfectly  understand  that  such  an  alli- 
ance would  have  been  advantageous  to  his  personal  policy. 
One  of  the  first  things  that  struck  me,  when  I  had  talked  for 
a  little  while  with  M.  de  Talleyrand,  was  the  entire  absence 
of  any  kind  of  illusion  or  enthusiasm  on  his  part  with  regard 
to  all  that  was  passing  around  us.  Every  one  else  was  more 
or  less  under  the  influence  of  feelings  of  this  kind.  The 
implicit  obedience  of  the  military  officers  might  easily  pass 
for  zeal,  and,  in  the  case  of  some  of  them,  it  really  was  devo- 
tion. The  ministers  affected  or  felt  profound  admiration ; 
M.  Maret  paraded  his  worship  of  the  First  Consul  on  every 
occasion ;  Berthier  was  happy  in  the  sincerity  of  his  attach- 
ment ;  in  short,  every  one  seemed  to  feel  something.  M.  de 
Remusat  tried  to  like  his  post,  and  to  esteem  the  man  who 
had  conferred  it  on  him.  As  for  myself,  I  cultivated  every 
opportunity  of  emotion  and  of  self-deception ;  and  the  calm 
indifference  of  M.  de  Talleyrand  amazed  me.  "  Good  heav- 
ens ! "  I  said  to  him  on  one  occasion,  "  how  is  it  possible  that 
you  can  live  and  work  without  experiencing  any  emotion 
either  from  what  passes  around  us,  or  from  your  own  ac- 
tions ? "  "  Ah !  what  a  woman  you  are,  and  how  young ! " 
he  replied:  and  then  he  began  to  ridicule  me,  as  he  did 
every  one  else.  His  jests  wounded  my  feelings,  yet  they 
made  me  laugh.  I  was  angry  with  myself  for  being  amused, 
and  yet,  because  my  vanity  was  pleased  at  my  own  compre- 
hension of  his  wit,  less  shocked  than  I  ought  to  have  been 
at  the  hardness  of  his  heart.  However,  I  did  not  yet 
know  him,  and  it  was  not  till  much  later,  when  I  had  got 
over  the  restraint  that  he  imposed  on  every  one  at  first, 
that  I  observed  the  curious  mixture  of  qualities  in  his 
character. 


RETURN  TO  SAINT  CLOUD.  89 

On  leaving  Brussels  we  went  to  Liege  and  Maestricht, 
and  reentered  the  former  boundaries  of  France  by  way  of 
Mezieres  and  Sedan.  Mine.  Bonaparte  was  charming  during 
this  journey,  and  left  an  impression  on  my  mind  of  her  kind- 
ness and  graciousness  which,  as  I  found  fifteen  years  after- 
ward, time  could  not  efface. 

I  was  delighted  to  return  to  Paris,  and  to  find  myself 
once  more  among  my  family  and  free  from  the  restraint  of 
court  life.  M.  ,de  Remusat,  like  myself,  was  tired  of  the  idle 
yet  restless  pomp  of  the  last  six  weeks ;  and  we  rejoiced  in 
the  quiet  of  our  happy  home. 

On  his  return  to  Saint  Cloud,  Bonaparte  and  Mme.  Bona- 
parte received  complimentary  addresses  from  the  Corps  Le- 
gislatif ,  the  tribunals,  etc. ;  the  First  Consul  also  received  a 
visit  from  the  Corps  Diplomatique.  Shortly  after  this,  he 
enhanced  the  dignity  of  the  Legion  of  Honor  by  appointing 
M.  de  Lacepede  its  Chancellor.  Since  the  fall  of  Bonaparte, 
certain  liberal  writers,  and  among  others  Mme.  de  Stael,  have 
endeavored  to  stigmatize  that  institution  by  reviving  the  re- 
collection of  an  English  caricature  which  represented  Bona- 
parte cutting  up  the  bonnet  rouge  of  the  Revolution  to  make 
the  crosses  of  the  Legion.  But,  if  he  had  not  misused  that 
institution  as  he  misused  everything,  there  would  have  been 
nothing  to  blame  in  the  invention  of  a  recompense  which 
was  an  inducement  to  every  kind  of  merit,  without  being  a 
great  expense  to  the  State.  What  splendid  deeds  on  the 
battle-field  has  that  little  bit  of  ribbon  inspired !  If  it  had 
been  accorded  to  merit  only  in  every  walk  of  life,  if  it  had 
never  been  given  from  motives  of  caprice  or  individual  fa- 
vor, it  would  have  been  a  fine  idea  to  assimilate  all  services 
rendered  to  the  country,  no  matter  of  what  nature,  and  to 
bestow  a  similar  decoration  upon  them  all.  The  institutions 
of  Bonaparte  in  France  ought  not  to  be  indiscriminately  con- 
demned. Most  of  them  have  a  commendable  purpose,  and 
might  have  been  made  of  advantage  to  the  nation.  But  his 
insatiable  greed  of  power  perverted  them.  So  intolerant 


90  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  REMUS  AT. 

was  he  of  any  obstacles,  that  he  could  not  even  endure  those 
which  arose  from  his  own  institutions,  and  he  instantly  set 
them  aside  by  an  arbitrary  decision. 

Having  in  the  course  of  this  year  (1803)  created  the  dif- 
ferent senatorships,  he  gave  a  Chancellor,  a  Treasurer,  and 
Praetors  to  the  Senate.  M.  de  Laplace  was  the  Chancellor. 
Bonaparte  honored  him  because  he  was  a  savant,  and  liked 
him  because  he  was  a  skillful  flatterer.  The  two  Praetors 
were  General  Lefebvre  and  General  Serrurier.  M.  de  Far- 
gues  *  was  the  Treasurer. 

The  Republican  year  ended  as  usual  in  the  middle  of 
September,  and  the  anniversary  of  the  Republic  was  cele- 
brated by  popular  fetes,  and  kept  with  royal  pomp  at  the 
palace  of  the  Tuileries.  We  heard  at  the  same  time  that  the 
Hanoverians,  who  had  been  conquered  by  General  Mortier, 
had  celebrated  the  First  Consul's  birthday  with  great  rejoic- 
ings. Thus,  by  degrees,  by  appearing  at  first  at  the  head 
of  all,  and  then  quite  alone,  he  accustomed  Europe  to  see 
France  in  his  person  only,  and  presented  himself  everywhere 
as  the  sole  representative  of  the  nation. 

Bonaparte,  who  well  knew  that  he  would  meet  with  re- 
sistance from  those  who  held  by  the  old  ways  of  thinking, 
applied  himself  early  and  skillfully  to  gain  the  young,  to 
whom  he  opened  all  the  doors  of  advancement  in  life.  He 
attached  auditors  to  the  different  ministries,  and  gave  free 
scope  to  ambition,  whether  in  military  or  in  civil  careers. 
He  often  said  that  he  preferred  to  every  other  advantage  that 
of  governing  a  new  people,  and  the  youthful  generation  af- 
forded him  that  novelty. 

The  institution  of  the  jury  was  also  discussed  in  that 
year.  I  have  heard  that  Bonaparte  himself  had  no  liking  for 
it ;  but,  as  he  intended  later  on  to  govern  rather  by  himself 
than  with  the  assistance  of  assemblies  which  he  feared,  he 
was  obliged  to  make  some  concessions  to  their  most  distin- 
guished members.  By  degrees,  all  the  laws  were  presented 

*  M.  de  Fargues  had  been  useful  to  Bonaparte  on  the  18th  Brumaire. 


PREPARATIONS  FOR  AN"  INVASION.  91 

to  the  Council  by  the  ministers,  and  were  either  changed 
into  decrees,  which,  without  any  other  sanction,  were  put  in 
force  from  one  end  of  France  to  the  other  ;  or  else,  having 
been  received  with  the  silent  approbation  of  the  Corps  Legis- 
latif ,  they  were  passed  with  no  more  trouble  than  that  im- 
posed upon  reporters  of  the  Council,  who  had  to  preface 
them  by  a  discourse,  so  that  they  might  have  some  show  of 
necessity.  Lyceums  were  also  established  in  all  the  impor- 
tant towns,  and  the  study  of  ancient  languages,  which  had 
been  abolished  during  the  Revolution,  was  again  made  obli- 
gatory in  public  education. 

It  was  at  this  time  that  the  flotilla  of  flat-bottomed  boats 
which  was  to  be  used  for  the  invasion  of  England  was  being 
constructed.  Day  by  day  it  was  more  confidently  asserted 
that  in  fine  weather  it  would  be  possible  for  the  flotilla  to 
reach  the  shores  of  England  without  being  impeded  by  ships 
of  war.  It  was  said  that  Bonaparte  himself  would  command 
the  expedition,  and  such  an  enterprise  did  not  seem  to  be  be- 
yond the  bounds  of  his  daring  or  of  his  good  fortune.  Our 
newspapers  represented  England  as  agitated  and  alarmed, 
and  in  reality  the  English  Government  was  not  quite  exempt 
from  fear  on  the  subject.  The  "  Moniteur  "  still  complained 
bitterly  of  the  English  liberal  journals,  and  the  gauntlet  of 
wordy  war  was  taken  up  on  both  sides.  In  France  the  law 
of  conscription  was  put  in  action,  and  large  bodies  of  troops 
were  raised.  Sometimes  people  asked  what  was  the  mean- 
ing of  this  great  armament,  and  of  such  paragraphs  as  the 
following,  which  appeared  in  the  "  Moniteur  "  :  "  The  Eng- 
lish journalists  suspect  that  the  great  preparations  for  war, 
which  the  First  Consul  has  just  commenced  in  Italy,  are  in- 
tended for  an  Egyptian  expedition." 

No  explanation  was  given.  The  French  nation  placed 
confidence  in  Bonaparte  of  a  kind  like  that  which  some 
credulous  minds  feel  in  magic ;  and,  as  his  success  was  be- 
lieved to  be  infallible,  it  was  not  difficult  to  obtain  a  tacit 
consent  to  all  his  operations  from  a  people  naturally  prone 


92  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  REMUS  AT. 

to  worship  success.  At  that  time  a  few  wise  heads  began  to 
perceive  that  he  would  not  be  useful  to  us ;  but,  as  the  gen- 
eral dread  of  the  Revolutionary  Government  still  proclaimed 
him  to  be  necessary,  no  opposition  could  be  made  to  his  au- 
thority without  the  risk  of  facilitating  the  revolt  of  that 
party,  which  it  was  believed  he  alone  could  control. 

In  the  mean  time  he  was  always  active  and  energetic ; 
and,  as  it  did  not  suit  him  that  the  public  mind  should  be 
left  to  repose,  which  leads  to  reflection,  he  aroused  appre- 
hension and  disturbance  in  every  way  that  might  be  useful 
to  himself.  A  letter  from  the  Comte  d'Artois,  taken  from 
the  "  Morning  Chronicle,"  was  printed  about  this  time ;  it 
offered  the  services  of  the  emigres  to  the  King  of  England, 
in  case  of  a  descent  upon  his  coasts.  Rumors  were  spread 
of  certain  attempts  made  in  the  eastern  departments ;  and 
since  the  war  in  La  Yendee  had  been  followed  by  the  in- 
glorious proceedings  of  the  Chouans,  people  had  become 
accustomed  to  the  idea  that  any  political  movement  set  on 
foot  in  that  part  of  France  had  pillage  and  incendiarism  for 
its  objects.  In  fact,  there  seemed  no  chance  of  quietness 
except  in  the  duration  of  the  established  Government ;  and 
when  certain  friends  of  liberty  deplored  its  loss — for  the 
new  liberal  institutions  were  of  little  value  in  their  eyes  be- 
cause they  were  the  work  of  absolute  power — they  were  met 
with  the  following  argument,  which  was  perhaps  justified 
by  circumstances  :  "  After  the  storm  through  which  we  have 
passed,  and  amid  the  strife  of  so  many  parties,  superior  force 
only  can  give  us  liberty ;  and,  so  long  as  that  force  tends  to 
promote  principles  of  order  and  morality,  we  ought  not  to 
regard  ourselves  as  straying  from  the  right  road ;  for  the 
creator  will  disappear,  but  that  which  he  has  created  will 
remain  with  us." 

While  more  or  less  disturbance  was  thus  kept  up  by  his 
orders,  Bonaparte  himself  maintained  a  peaceful  attitude. 
He  had  returned  to  his  usual  orderly  and  busy  life  at  Saint 
Cloud,  and  we  passed  our  days  as  I  have  already  described. 


MARRIAGE  OF  MADAME  LECLERC.  93 

His  brothers  were  all  employed  * — Joseph,  at  the  camp  of 
Boulogne ;  Louis,  at  the  Council  of  State ;  Jerome,  the 
youngest,  in  America,  whither  he  had  been  sent,  and  where 
he  was  well  received  by  the  Anglo-Americans.  Bonaparte's 
sisters,  who  were  now  in  the  enjoyment  of  wealth,  vied  with 
each  other  in  the  decoration  of  the  houses  which  the  First 
Consul  had  given  them,  and  in  the  luxury  of  their  furni- 
ture and  equipment.  Eugene  de  Beauharnais  occupied  him- 
self exclusively  in  his  military  duties ;  his  sister  lived  a  dull 
and  quiet  life. 

Mme.  Leclerc  had  inspired  Prince  Borghese  (who  had 
not  long  arrived  in  France  from  Rome)  with  an  ardent 
attachment,  which  she  returned.  The  Prince  asked  her 
hand  of  Bonaparte,  but  his  demand  was  at  first  refused.  I 
do  not  know  what  the  motive  of  his  refusal  was,  but  think 
it  may  perhaps  have  been  dictated  by  his  vanity,  which 
would  have  been  hurt  by  the  supposition  that  he  desired  to 
be  relieved  of  any  family  claims  ;  and  probably,  also,  he  did 
not  wish  to  appear  to  accept  a  first  proposal  with  alacrity. 
But,  as  the  liaison  between  his  sister  and  the  Prince  became 
publicly  known,  the  Consul  consented  at  last  to  legitimize  it 
by  a  marriage,  which  took  place  at  Mortefontaine  while  he 
was  at  Boulogne. 

He  set  out  to  visit  the  camp  and  the  flotilla  on  the  3d  of 
November,  1803.  This  time  his  journey  was  of  an  entirely 
military  character.  He  was  accompanied  only  by  the  gen- 
erals of  his  guard,  by  his  aides-de-camp,  and  by  M.  de  Re- 
musat. 

When  they  arrived  at  Pont  de  Briques,  a  little  village 
about  a  league  from  Boulogne,  where  Bonaparte  had  fixed 
his  headquarters,  my  husband  fell  dangerously  ill.  So  soon 
as  I  heard  of  his  illness  I  set  out  to  join  him,  and  arrived  at 
Pont  de  Briques  in  the  middle  of  the  night.  Entirely  occu- 
pied by  my  anxiety,  I  had  thought  of  nothing  but  of  the 

*  It  was  at  the  end  of  the  autumn  or  the  beginning  of  winter,  in  1803,  that 
Lucien  married  Mme.  Jouberthon  and  quarreled  with  his  brother. 


94:  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R&MUSAT. 

state  in  which  I  should  find  the  invalid.  But,  when  I  got 
out  of  the  carriage,  I  was  rather  disconcerted  by  finding 
myself  alone  in  the  midst  of  a  camp,  and  not  knowing  what 
the  First  Consul  would  think  of  my  arrival.  I  was  reassured, 
however,  by  the  servants,  who  told  me  I  was  expected,  and 
that  a  room  had  been  set  apart  for  me  two  days  before.  I 
passed  the  remainder  of  the  night  there,  waiting  until  day- 
light before  I  saw  my  husband,  as  I  did  not  like  to  risk  dis- 
turbing him.  I  found  him  greatly  pulled  down  by  illness, 
but  he  was  so  rejoiced/  to  see  me  that  I  congratulated  myself 
on  having  come  without  asking  permission. 

In  the  morning  Bonaparte  sent  for  me.  I  was  so  agitated 
that  I  could  hardly  speak.  He  saw  this  the  moment  I  en- 
tered the  room,  and  he  kissed  me,  made  me  sit  down,  and 
restored  me  to  composure  by  his  first  words.  "  I  was  expect- 
ing you,"  he  said.  "  Your  presence  will  cure  your  husband." 
At  these  words  I  burst  into  tears.  He  appeared  touched, 
and  endeavored  to  console  me.  Then  he  directed  me  to 
come  every  day  to  dine  and  breakfast  with  him,  laughing  as 
he  said,  "  I  must  look  after  a  woman  of  your  age  among  so 
many  soldiers."  He  asked  me  how  I  had  left  his  wife.  A 
little  while  before  his  departure  some  more  secret  visits  from 
Mile.  Georges  had  given  rise  to  fresh  domestic  disagreements. 
"  She  troubles  herself,"  he  said,  "  a  great  deal  more  than  is 
necessary.  Josephine  is  always  afraid  that  I  shall  fall  seri- 
ously in  love.  Does  she  not  know,  then,  that  I  am  not  made 
for  love  ?  For  what  is  love  ?  A  passion  which  sets  all  the 
universe  on  one  side,  and  on  the  other  the  beloved  object. 
I  certainly  am  not  of  a  nature  to  give  myself  up  to  any  such 
exclusive  feeling.  What,  then,  do  these  fancies,  into  which 
my  affections  do  not  enter,  matter  to  her  ?  This,"  he  con- 
tinued, looking  at  me  seriously,  "  is  what  her  friends  ought 
to  dwell  upon ;  and,  above  all,  they  ought  not  to  try  to  in- 
crease their  influence  over  her  by  fostering  her  jealousy." 
There  was  in  his  last  words  a  tone  of  suspicion  and  severity 
which  I  did  not  deserve,  and  I  think  he  knew  that  very 


ILLNESS  OF  M.  DE  KfiMUSAT.  95 

well ;  but  lie  never  missed  an  opportunity  of  carrying  out 
his  favorite  system,  which  was  to  keep  one's  mind  what  he 
called  "  breathless  " ;  that  is  to  say,  constantly  anxious. 

He  remained  at  Pont  de  Briques  for  ten  days  after  I  ar- 
rived there.  My  husband's  malady  was  a  painful  one,  but 
the  doctors  were  not  alarmed.  With  the  exception  of  one 
quarter  of  an  hour  during  which  the  First  Consul's  break- 
fast lasted,  I  spent  the  morning  with  my  dear  invalid.  Bona- 
parte went  to  the  camp  every  day,  reviewed  the  troops, 
visited  the  flotilla,  and  assisted  at  some  slight  skirmishes,  or 
rather  at  an  exchange  of  cannon-balls,  between  us  and  the 
English,  who  constantly  cruised  in  front  of  the  harbor  and 
tried  to  molest  our  workmen. 

At  six  o'clock  Bonaparte  returned,  and  then  I  was  sum- 
moned. Occasionally  some  of  the  officers  of  his  household, 
the  Minister  of  Marine  or  the  Minister  of  Public  Works, 
who  had  accompanied  him,  were  invited  to  dinner.  At 
other  times  we  dined  tete-d-tete,  and  then  he  talked  on  a 
multitude  of  subjects.  He  spoke  of  his  own  character,  and 
described  himself  as  having  always  been  of  a  melancholy 
temperament — far  more  so  than  any  of  his  comrades.  My 
memory  has  faithfully  preserved  all  he  said  to  me.  The 
following  is  a  correct  summary  of  it : 

"  I  was  educated,"  he  said,  "  at  a  military  school,  and  I 
showed  no  aptitude  for  anything  but  the  exact  sciences. 
Every  one  said  of  me,  ( That  child  will  never  be  good  for 
anything  but  geometry.'  I  kept  aloof  from  my  schoolfel- 
lows. I  had  chosen  a  little  corner  in  the  school-grounds, 
where  I  would  sit  and  dream  at  my  ease ;  for  I  have  always 
liked  reverie.  When  my  companions  tried  to  usurp  posses- 
sion of  this  corner,  I  defended  it  with  all  my  might.  I  al- 
ready knew  by  instinct  that  my  will  was  to  override  that  of 
others,  and  that  what  pleased  me  was  to  belong  to  me.  I 
was  not  liked  at  school.  It  takes  time  to  make  one's  self 
liked ;  and,  even  when  I  had  nothing  to  do,  I  always  felt 

vaguely  that  I  had  no  time  to  lose. 
5      J       10 


96  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R&MUSAT. 

"  I  entered  the  service,  and  soon  grew  tired  of  garrison 
work.  I  began  to  read  novels,  and  they  interested  me  deep- 
ly. I  even  tried  to  write  some.  This  occupation  brought 
out  something  in  my  imagination  which  mingled  itself  with 
the  positive  knowledge  I  had  acquired ;  and  I  often  let  my- 
self dream,  in  order  that  I  might  afterward  measure  my 
dreams  by  the  compass  of  my  reason.  I  threw  myself  into 
an  ideal  world,  and  I  endeavored  to  find  out  in  what  precise 
points  it  differed  from  the  actual  world  in  which  I  lived.  I 
have  always  liked  analysis ;  and,  if  I  were  to  be  seriously  in 
love,  I  should  analyze  my  love  bit  by  bit.  Why  f  and  How  f 
are  questions  so  useful  that  they  can  not  be  too  often  asked. 
I  conquered,  rather  than  studied,  history ;  that  is  to  say,  I 
did  not  care  to  retain,  and  did  not  retain,  anything  that  could 
not  give  me  a  new  idea ;  I  disdained  all  that  was  useless,  but 
took  possession  of  certain  results  which  pleased  me. 

"  I  did  not  understand  much  about  the  Revolution,  but  I 
approved  of  it.  Equality,  which  was  to  elevate  myself,  at- 
tracted me.  On  the  20th  of  June  I  was  in  Paris,  and  I  saw 
the  populace  marching  upon  the  Tuileries.  I  have  never 
liked  popular  movements,  and  I  was  indignant  at  the  violent 
deeds  of  that  day.  I  thought  the  ringleaders  in  the  attack 
very  imprudent,  for  I  said  to  myself, ( It  is  not  they  who  will 
profit  by  this  revolution.'  But,  when  I  was  told  that  Louis 
had  put  the  red  cap  on  his  head,  I  came  to  the  conclusion 
that  he  had  ceased  to  reign ;  for  in  politics  there  is  no  resur- 
rection. 

"  On  the  10th  of  August  I  felt  that,  had  I  been  called 
upon,  I  would  have  defended  the  King.  I  set  myself  against 
those  who  founded  the  Republic  by  the  people.  Besides,  I 
saw  men  in  plain  clothes  attacking  men  in  uniform,  and  I 
could  not  stand  that. 

"  One  evening  I  was  at  the  theatre ;  it  was  the  12th  Ven- 
de*miaire.  I  heard  it  said  about  me  that  next  day  du  train 
might  be  looked  for.  You  know  that  was  the  usual  expres- 
sion of  the  Parisians,  who  regarded  the  various  changes  of 


CONVERSATIONS   WITH  FIRST  CONSUL.  97 

government  with  indifference,  as  those  changes  did  not  dis- 
turb their  business,  their  pleasures,  or  even  their  dinners. 
After  the  Terror,  people  were  satisfied  with  anything,  so 
that  they  were  allowed  to  live  quietly. 

"  I  heard  it  said  that  the  Assembly  was  sitting  in  per- 
manence ;  I  went  there,  and  found  all  confusion  and  hesita- 
tion. Suddenly  I  heard  a  voice  say  from  the  middle  of  the 
hall,  '  If  any  one  here  knows  the  address  of  General  Bona- 
parte, he  is  begged  to  go  and  tell  him  that  he  is  expected  at 
the  Committee  of  the  Assembly.'  I  have  always  observed 
with  interest  how  chance  interferes  in  certain  events,  and 
this  chance  decided  me.  I  went  to  the  Committee. 

"There  I  found  several  terrified  deputies,  Cambaceres 
among  others.  They  expected  to  be  attacked  the  next  day, 
and  they  could  not  come  to  any  resolution.  They  asked  my 
advice ;  I  answered  by  asking  for  guns.  This  proposition  so 
alarmed  them  that  the  whole  night  passed  without  their  com- 
ing to  any  decision.  In  the  morning  there  was  very  bad 
news.  Then  they  put  the  whole  business  into  my  hands, 
and  afterward  began  to  discuss  whether  they  had  the  right 
to  repel  force  by  force.  '  Are  you  going  to  wait,'  I  asked 
them,  *  until  the  people  give  you  permission  to  fire  upon 
them  ?  I  am  committed  in  this  matter ;  you  have  appointed 
me  to  defend  you ;  it  is  right  that  you  should  leave  me  to 
act.'  Thereupon  I  left  these  lawyers  to  stultify  themselves 
with  words.  I  put  the  troops  in  motion,  and  pointed  two 
cannons  with  terrible  effect  from  Saint  Koch ;  the  army  of 
citizens  and  the  conspirators  were  swept  away  in  an  instant. 

"  But  I  had  shed  Parisian  blood !  "What  sacrilege !  It 
was  necessary  to  obliterate  the  effect  of  such  a  deed.  I  felt 
myself  more  and  more  urgently  called  upon  to  do  something. 
I  asked  for  the  command  of  the  army  of  Italy.  Everything 
had  to  be  put  in  order  in  that  army,  both  men  and  things. 
Only  youth  can  have  patience,  because  it  has  the  future 
before  it.  I  set  out  for  Italy  with  ill-trained  soldiers,  who 
were,  however,  full  of  zeal  and  daring.  In  the  midst  of  the 


98  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  EfiMUSAT. 

troops  I  had  wagons  placed,  and  escorted  on  the  march,  al- 
though they  were  empty.  These  I  called  the  treasure-chests 
of  the  army.  I  put  it  in  the  order  of  the  day  that  shoes 
should  be  distributed  to  the  recruits:  no  one  would  wear 
them.  I  promised  my  soldiers  that  fortune  and  glory  should 
await  us  behind  the  Alps;  I  kept  my  word,  and  ever  since 
then  the  army  would  follow  me  to  the  end  of  the  world. 

"  I  made  a  splendid  campaign ;  I  became  a  person  of  im- 
portance in  Europe.  On  the  one  hand,  with  the  assistance 
of  my  orders  of  the  day,  I  maintained  the  revolutionary  sys- 
tem ;  on  the  other  hand,  I  secretly  conciliated  the  emigres 
by  allowing  them  to  form  certain  hopes.  It  is  easy  to  de- 
ceive that  party,  because  it  starts  always  not  from  what  exists, 
but  from  what  it  wishes  to  believe.  I  received  magnificent 
offers  of  recompense  if  I  would  follow  the  example  of  General 
Monk ;  the  Pretender  even  wrote  to  me  in  his  vague  and 
florid  style ;  I  conquered  the  Pope  more  effectually  by  not 
going  to  Rome  than  if  I  had  burned  his  capital.  In  short, 
I  became  important  and  formidable ;  and  the  Directory,  al- 
though I  made  them  very  uneasy,  could  not  bring  any  formal 
accusation  against  me. 

"  I  have  been  reproached  with  having  favored  the  18th 
Fructidor ;  they  might  as  well  reproach  me  with  having  sup- 
ported the  Revolution.  It  was  necessary  to  take  advantage 
of  the  Revolution,  and  to  derive  some  profit  from  the  blood 
that  had  been  shed.  What !  were  we  to  give  ourselves  up 
unconditionally  to  the  princes  of  the  house  of  Bourbon,  who 
would  have  thrown  in  our  teeth  all  the  misfortunes  we  had 
suffered  since  their  departure,  and  would  have  imposed  si- 
lence upon  us,  because  we  had  solicited  their  return  ?  Were 
we  to  exchange  our  victorious  flag  for  that  white  banner 
which  had  mingled  with  the  standards  of  our  enemies  ?  Was 
I  to  content  myself  with  a  few  millions  and  a  petty  duke- 
dom ?  The  part  of  Monk  is  not  a  difficult  one  to  play ;  it 
would  have  given  me  less  trouble  than  the  Egyptian  cam- 
paign, or  even  than  the  18th  Brumaire;  but  can  anything 


CONVERSATIONS   WITH  FIRST  CONSUL.  99 

teach  princes  who  have  never  seen  a  battle-field  ?  To  what 
did  the  return  of  Charles  II.  lead  the  English,  except  the  de- 
thronement of  James  II.  ?  Had  it  been  necessary,  I  should 
certainly  have  dethroned  the  Bourbons  a  second  time,  so  that 
the  best  thing  they  could  have  done  would  have  been  to  get 
rid  of  me. 

"  "When  I  returned  to  France,  I  found  public  opinion  in 
a  lethargic  condition.  In  Paris — and  Paris  is  France — peo- 
ple can  never  interest  themselves  in  things  if  they  do  not 
care  about  persons.  The  customs  of  an  old  monarchy  had 
taught  them  to  personify  everything.  This  habit  of  mind  is 
bad  for  a  people  who  desire  liberty  seriously ;  but  French- 
men can  no  longer  desire  anything  seriously,  except  perhaps 
it  be  equality ;  and  even  that  they  would  renounce  willingly 
if  every  one  could  flatter  himself  that  he  was  the  first.  To 
be  equals,  with  everybody  uppermost,  is  the  secret  of  the 
vanity  of  all  of  you ;  every  man  among  you  must,  therefore, 
be  given  the  hope  of  rising.  The  great  difficulty  of  the  Di- 
rectory was  that  no  one  cared  about  them,  and  that  people 
began  to  care  a  good  deal  about  me. 

"  I  do  not  know  what  would  have  happened  to  me  had  I 
not  conceived  the  happy  thought  of  going  to  Egypt.  When 
I  embarked  I  did  not  know  but  that  I  might  be  bidding  an 
eternal  farewell  to  France ;  but  I  had  no  doubt  that  she 
would  recall  me.  The  charm  of  Oriental  conquest  drew  my 
thoughts  away  from  Europe  more  than  I  should  have  believed 
possible.  My  imagination  interfered  this  time  again  with  my 
actions ;  but  I  think  it  died  out  at  Saint  Jean  d' Acre.  How- 
ever that  may  be,  I  shall  never  allow  it  to  interfere  with  me 
again. 

"  In  Egypt  I  found  myself  free  from  the  wearisome  re- 
straints of  civilization.  I  dreamed  all  sorts  of  things,  and  I 
saw  how  all  that  I  dreamed  might  be  realized.  I  created  a 
religion.  I  pictured  myself  on  the  road  to  Asia,  mounted  on 
an  elephant,  with  a  turban  on  my  head,  and  in  my  hand  a 
new  Koran,  which  I  should  compose  according  to  my  own 


100  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  E^MUSAT. 

ideas.  I  would  have  the  combined  experience  of  two  worlds 
to  set  about  my  enterprise ;  I  was  to  have  ransacked,  for  my 
own  advantage,  the  whole  domain  of  history ;  I  was  to  have 
attacked  the  English  power  in  India,  and  renewed  my  rela- 
tions with  old  Europe  by  my  conquest.  The  time  which  I 
passed  in  Egypt  was  the  most  delightful  part  of  my  life,  for 
it  was  the  most  ideal.  Fate  decided  against  my  dreams ;  I 
received  letters  from  France ;  I  saw  that  there  was  not  a 
moment  to  lose.  I  reverted  to  the  realities  of  life,  and  I 
returned  to  Paris — to  Paris,  where  the  gravest  interests  of 
the  country  are  discussed  in  the  entr'acte  of  an  opera. 

"  The  Directory  trembled  at  my  return.  I  was  very  cau- 
tious ;  that  is  one  of  the  epochs  of  my  life  in  which  I  have 
acted  with  the  soundest  judgment.  I  saw  the  Abbe  Sieyes, 
and  promised  him  that  his  verbose  constitution  should  be  put 
into  effect ;  I  received  the  chiefs  of  the  Jacobins  and  the 
agents  of  the  Bourbons;  I  listened  to  advice  from  every- 
body, but  I  only  gave  it  in  the  interest  of  my  own  plans.  I 
hid  myself  from  the  people,  because  I  knew  that  when  the 
time  came  curiosity  to  see  me  would  make  them  run  after 
me.  Every  one  was  taken  in  my  toils  ;  and,  when  I  became 
the  head  of  the  State,  there  was  not  a  party  in  France  which 
did  not  build  some  special  hope  upon  my  success." 


CHAPTEE   IV. 

(1803-1804.) 

Continuation  of  the  First  Consul's  Conversations  at  Boulogne — Reading  of  the 
Tragedy  of  "Philippe  Auguste"— My  new  Impressions— Return  to  Paris— 
Mme.  Bonaparte's  Jealousy  —  Winter  Fetes  of  1804— M.  de  Fontanes— M. 
Fouche"— Savary— Pichegru— Arrest  of  General  Moreau. 

ONE  evening,  while  we  were  at  Boulogne,  Bonaparte 
turned  the  conversation  upon  literature.  Lemercier,  the 
poet,  whom  Bonaparte  liked,  had  just  finished  a  tragedy, 
called  "  Philippe  Auguste,"  which  contained  allusions  to  the 
First  Consul,  and  had  brought  the  manuscript  to  him.  Bo- 
naparte took  it  into  his  head  to  read  this  production  aloud  to 
me.  It  was  amusing  to  hear  a  man,  who  was  always  in  a 
hurry  when  he  had  nothing  to  do,  trying  to  read  Alexandrine 
verses,  of  which  he  did  not  know  the  meter,  and  pronouncing 
them  so  badly  that  he  did  not  seem  to  understand  what  he 
read.  Besides,  he  no  sooner  opened  any  book  than  he  wanted 
to  criticise  it.  I  asked  him  to  give  me  the  manuscript,  and 
I  read  it  out  myself.  Then  he  began  to  talk ;  he  took  the 
play  out  of  my  hand,  struck  out  whole  passages,  made  several 
marginal  notes,  and  found  fault  with  the  plot  and  the  char- 
acters. He  did  not  run  much  risk  of  spoiling  the  piece,  for 
it  was  very  bad.*  Singularly  enough,  when  he  had  done 
reading,  he  told  me  he  did  not  wish  the  author  to  know  that 
all  these  erasures  and  corrections  were  made  by  so  important 
a  hand,  and  he  directed  me  to  take  them  upon  myself.  I 
objected  to  this,  as  may  be  supposed.  I  had  great  difficulty 

*  This  piece  was  never  acted,  nor,  I  believe,  printed.— P.  R. 


102  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R&MUSAT. 

in  convincing  him  that,  as  it  might  be  thought  strange  that 
even  he  should  thus  have  meddled  with  an  author's  manu- 
script, it  would  be  contrary  to  all  the  convenances  for  me  to 
have  taken  such  a  liberty.  "  Well,  well,"  said  he,  "  perhaps 
you  are  right ;  but  on  this,  as  on  every  other  occasion,  I  own 
I  do  not  like  that  vague  and  leveling  phrase,  the  convenances, 
which  you  women  are  always  using.  It  is  a  device  of  fools 
to  raise  themselves  to  the  level  of  people  of  intellect ;  a  sort 
of  social  gag,  which  obstructs  the  strong  mind  and  only  serves 
the  weak.  It  may  be  all  very  well  for  women :  they  have 
not  much  to  do  in  this  life ;  but  you  must  be  aware  that  I, 
for  example,  can  not  be  bound  by  the  convenances? 

"  But,"  I  replied,  "  is  not  the  application  of  these  laws  to 
the  conduct  of  life  like  that  of  the  dramatic  unities  to  the 
drama?  They  give  order  and  regularity,  and  they  do  not 
really  trammel  genius,  except  when  it  would,  without  their 
control,  err  against  good  taste." 

"  Ah,  good  taste !  That  is  another  of  those  classical 
words  which  I  do  not  adopt.*  It  is  perhaps  my  own  fault, 
but  there  are  certain  rules  which  mean  nothing  to  me.  For 
example,  what  is  called  '  style,'  good  or  bad,  does  not  affect 
me.  I  care  only  for  the  force  of  the  thought.  I  used  to 
like  Ossian,  but  it  was  for  the  same  reason  which  made  me 
delight  in  the  murmur  of  the  winds  and  waves.  In  Egypt 
I  tried  to  read  the  '  Iliad ' ;  but  I  got  tired  of  it.  As  for 
French  poets,  I  understand  none  of  them  except  Corneille. 
That  man  understood  politics,  and  if  he  had  been  trained  to 
public  afMrs  he  would  have  been  a  statesman.  I  think  I 
appreciate  him  more  truly  than  any  one  else  does,  because  I 
exclude  all  the  dramatic  sentiments  from  my  view  of  him. 
For  example,  it  is  only  lately  I  have  come  to  understand  the 
denouement  of  i  Cinna.'  At  first  I  regarded  it  as  merely  a 
contrivance  for  a  pathetic  fifth  act;  for  really,  clemency, 

*  M.  de  Talleyrand  once  said  to  the  Emperor,  "  Good  taste  is  your  personal 
enemy ;  if  you  could  have  got  rid  of  it  by  cannon-balls,  it  would  long  ago  have 
ceased  to  exist." 


MY  NEW  IMPRESSIONS.  103 

properly  speaking,  is  such  a  poor  little  virtue,  when  it  is  not 
founded  on  policy,  that  to  turn  Augustus  suddenly  into  a 
kind-hearted  prince  appeared  to  me  an  unworthy  climax. 
However,  I  saw  Monvel  act  in  the  tragedy  one  night,  and 
the  mystery  of  the  great  conception  was  revealed  to  me.  He 
pronounced  the  'Soyons  amis,  Cinna,'  in  so  cunning  and 
subtle  a  tone,  that  I  saw  at  once  the  action  was  only  a  feint 
of  the  tyrant,  and  I  approved  as  a  calculation  what  had  ap- 
peared to  me  silly  as  a  sentiment.  The  line  should  always 
be  so  delivered  that,  of  all  those  who  hear  it,  only  Cinna  is 
deceived. 

"  As  for  Racine,  he  pleases  me  in c  Iphigenie.'  That  piece, 
while  it  lasts,  makes  one  breathe  the  poetic  air  of  Greece. 
In  '  Britannicus '  he  has  been  trammeled  by  Tacitus,  against 
whom  I  am  prejudiced,  because  he  does  not  sufficiently  ex- 
plain his  meaning.  The  tragedies  of  Yoltaire  are  passionate, 
but  they  do  not  go  deeply  into  human  nature.  For  instance, 
his  Mahomet  is  neither  a  prophet  nor  an  Arab.  He  is  an 
impostor,  who  might  have  been  educated  at  the  ICcole  Poly- 
technique,  for  he  uses  power  as  I  might  use  it  in  an  age  like 
the  present.  And  then,  the  murder  of  the  father  by  the  son 
is  a  useless  crime. "  Great  men  are  never  cruel  except  from 
necessity. 

u  As  for  comedy,  it  interests  me  about  as  much  as  the 
gossip  of  your  drawing-rooms.  I  understand  your  admira- 
tion of  Moliere,  but  I  do  not  share  it ;  he  has  placed  his  per- 
sonages in  situations  which  have  no  attractions  for  me." 

From  these  observations  it  is  plain  that  Bonaparte  cared 
only  to  observe  human  nature  when  it  was  struggling  with 
the  great  chances  of  life,  and  that  man  in  the  abstract  inter- 
ested him  but  little.  In  conversations  of  this  kind  the  time 
I  spent  at  Boulogne  with  the  First  Consul  was  passed,  and  it 
was  at  the  close  of  my  sojourn  there  that  I  underwent  the 
first  experience  that  inspired  me  with  mistrust  of  persons 
among  whom  I  was  obliged  to  live  at  Court.  The  officers 
of  the  household  could  not  believe  that  a  woman  might  re- 


104:  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  M&MU8AT. 

main  for  hours  together  with  their  master,  simply  talking 
with  him  on  matters  of  general  interest,  and  they  drew  con- 
clusions which  were  injurious  to  my  character.  I  may  now 
venture  to  say  that  the  purity  of  my  mind,  and  my  life-long 
attachment  to  my  husband,  prevented  my  even  conceiving 
the  possibility  of  such  a  suspicion  as  that  which  was  formed 
in  the  Consul's  ante-chamber,  while  I  was  conversing  with 
him  in  his  salon.  When  Bonaparte  returned  to  Paris,  his 
aides-de-camp  talked  about  my  long  interviews  with  him,  and 
Mme.  Bonaparte  took  fright  at  their  stories ;  so  that  when, 
after  a  month's  stay  at  Pont  de  Briques,  my  husband  was  suf- 
ficiently recovered  to  bear  the  journey,  and  we  returned  to 
Paris,  my  jealous  patroness  received  me  coldly. 

I  returned  full  of  gratitude  toward  the  First  Consul.  He 
had  received  me  so  kindly ;  he  had  shown  such  interest  in 
the  state  of  my  husband's  health  ;  his  attention  to  me  had  so 
much  soothed  my  troubled  and  anxious  mind,  and  had  been 
so  great  a  resource  in  that  solitary  place ;  and  I  was  so  much 
flattered  by  the  pleasure  he  seemed  to  take  in  my  society, 
that  on  my  return  I  told  every  one,  with  the  eager  gratitude 
of  one  twenty-three  years  old,  of  the  extreme  kindness  he 
had  shown  me.  My  friend,  who  was  rea"lly  attached  to  me, 
advised  me  to  be  careful  of  my  words,  and  apprised  me  of 
the  impression  they  had  made.  I  remember  to  this  hour  that 
her  hint  struck  like  a  dagger  to  my  heart.  It  was  the  first 
time  I  had  suffered  injustice ;  my  youth  and  all  my  feelings 
revolted  against  such  an  accusation.  Stern  experience  only 
can  steel  us  against  the  unjust  judgments  of  the  world,  and 
perhaps  we  ought  to  regret  the  time  when  they  had  the  pow- 
er to  wound  us  deeply.  My  friend's  warning  had,  however, 
explained  Mme.  Bonaparte's  conduct  toward  me.  One  day, 
when  I  was  more  hurt  by  this  than  usual,  I  could  not  refrain 
from  saying  to  her,  with  tears  in  my  eyes,  "  What,  madame  ! 
do  you  suspect  me  ? "  As  she  was  very  kind  and  always 
easily  touched  by  passing  emotions,  she  embraced  me,  and 
thenceforth  treated  me  with  her  former  cordiality.  But  she 


MADAME  BONAPARTE'S  JEALOUSY.  105 

did  not  understand  my  feelings.  There  was  nothing  in  her 
mind  which  corresponded  to  my  just  indignation ;  and,  with- 
out endeavoring  to  ascertain  whether  my  relations  with  her 
husband  at  Bolougne  had  been  such  as  they  were  represented 
to  her,  she  was  content  to  conclude  that  in  any  case  the  affair 
had  been  merely  temporary,  since  I  did  not,  when  under  her 
own  eyes,  depart  from  my  usual  reserve  toward  Bonaparte. 
In  order  to  justify  herself,  she  told  me  that  the  Bonaparte 
family  had  spread  injurious  reports  against  me  during  my 
absence.  "  Do  you  not  perceive,"  I  asked  her,  "  that,  rightly 
or  wrongly,  it  is  believed  here  that  my  tender  attachment  to 
you,  madame,  makes  me  clear-sighted  to  what  is  going  on, 
and  that,  feeble  as  my  counsels  are,  they  may  help  you  to  act 
with  prudence  ?  Political  jealousy  spreads  suspicion  broad- 
cast everywhere,  and,  insignificant  as  I  am,  I  do  believe  they 
want  to  make  you  quarrel  with  me."  Mme.  Bonaparte  agreed 
in  the  truth  of  my  observation ;  but  she  had  not  the  least 
idea  that  I  could  feel  aggrieved  because  it  had  not  occurred 
to  herself  in  the  first  instance.  She  acknowledged  that  she 
had  reproached  her  husband  about  me,  and  he  had  evidently 
amused  himself  by  leaving  her  in  doubt.  These  occurrences 
opened  my  eyes  about  the  people  among  whom  I  lived  to  an 
extent  which  alarmed  me  and  upset  all  my  former  feelings 
toward  them.  I  began  to  feel  that  the  ground  which  I  had 
trodden  until  then  with  all  the  confidence  of  ignorance  was 
not  firm ;  I  knew  that  from  the  kind  of  annoyance  I  had  just 
experienced  I  should  never  again  be  free. 

The  First  Consul,  on  leaving  Boulogne,  had  declared,  in 
the  order  of  the  day,  that  he  was  pleased  with  the  army ; 
and  in  the  "Moniteur"  of  November  12,  1803,  we  read  the 
following  :  "  It  was  remarked  as  a  presage  that,  in  the  course 
of  the  excavations  for  the  First  Consul's  camp,  a  war  hatchet 
was  found,  which  probably  belonged  to  the  Roman  army 
that  invaded  Britain.  There  were  also  medals  of  William 
the  Conqueror  found  at  Ambleteuse,  where  the  First  Con- 
sul's -tent  was  pitched.  It  must  be  admitted  that  these  cir- 


106  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R&MUSAT. 

cumstances  are  singular,  and  they  appear  still  more  strange 
when  it  is  borne  in  mind  that  when  General  Bonaparte  vis- 
ited the  ruins  of  Pelusium,  in  Egypt,  he  found  there  a  me- 
dallion of  Julius  Caesar." 

The  allusion  was  not  a  very  fortunate  one,  for,  notwith- 
standing the  medallion  of  Julius  Caesar,  Bonaparte  was 
obliged  to  leave  Egypt ;  but  these  little  parallels,  dictated 
by  the  ingenious  flattery  of  M.  Maret,  pleased  his  master 
immensely,  and  Bonaparte  was  confident  that  they  were  not 
without  effect  upon  the  country. 

In  the  journals  every  effort  was  made  at  that  time  to 
excite  the  popular  imagination  on  the  subject  of  the  invasion 
of  England.  I  do  not  know  whether  Bonaparte  really  be- 
lieved that  such  an  adventure  was  possible,  but  he  appeared 
to  do  so,  and  the  expense  incurred  in  the  construction  of  flat- 
bottomed  boats  was  considerable.  The  war  of  words  be- 
tween the  English  newspapers  and  the  "  Moniteur "  con- 
tinued. We  read  in  the  "  Times,"  "  It  is  said  that  the 
French  have  made  Hanover  a  desert,  and  they  are  now  about 
to  abandon  it "  ;  to  which  a  note  in  the  "  Moniteur  "  imme- 
diately replied,  "  Yes,  when  you  abandon  Malta."  The 
Bishops  issued  pastorals,  in  which  they  exhorted  the  nation 
to  arm  itself  for  a  just  war.  "  Choose  men  of  good  courage," 
said  the  Bishop  of  Arras,  "  and  go  forth  to  fight  Amalek. 
Bossuet  has  said,  '  To  submit  to  the  public  orders  is  to  sub- 
mit to  the  orders  of  God,  who  establishes  empires.' 5: 

This  quotation  from  Bossuet  reminds  me  of  a  story 
which  M.  Bourlier,  the  Bishop  of  Evreux,  used  to  tell.  It 
related  to  the  time  when  the  Council  was  assembled  at  Paris 
with  a  view  to  inducing  the  Bishops  to  oppose  the  decrees 
of  the  Pope.  "  Sometimes,"  said  the  Bishop  of  Evreux, 
"  the  Emperor  would  have  us  all  summoned,  and  would  be- 
gin a  theological  discussion  with  us.  He  would  address  him- 
self to  the  most  recalcitrant  among  us,  and  say,  '  My  religion 
is  that  of  Bossuet ;  he  is  my  Father  of  the  Church  ;  he  de- 
fended our  liberties.  I  want  to  commence  his  work  and  to 


WINTER  FfiTES  OF  1804.  107 

maintain  your  dignity.  Do  you  understand  me  ? '  Speak- 
ing thus,  and  pale  with  anger,  he  would  clap  his  hand  on  the 
hilt  of  his  sword.  The  ardor  with  which  he  was  ready  to 
defend  us  made  me  tremble,  and  this  singular  amalgamation 
of  the  name  of  Bossuet  and  the  word  liberty,  with  his  own 
threatening  gestures,  would  have  made  me  smile  if  I  had 
not  been  too  heavy-hearted  at  the  prospect  of  the  hard  times 
which  I  foresaw  for  the  Church." 

I  now  return  to  the  winter  of  1804.  This  winter  passed 
as  the  preceding  one  had  done,  in  balls  and  fetes  at  Court 
and  in  Paris,  and  in  the  organization  of  the  new  laws  which 
were  presented  to  the  Corps  Legislatif.  Mme.  Bacciochi, 
who  had  a  very  decided  liking  for  M.  de  Fontanes,  spoke  of 
him  so  often  at  that  time  to  her  brother,  that  her  influence, 
added  to  Bonaparte's  own  high  opinion  of  the  academician, 
determined  him  to  make  M.  de  Fontanes  President  of  the 
Corps  Legislatif.  This  selection  appeared  strange  to  some 
people ;  but  a  man  of  letters  would  do  as  well  as  any  other 
President  for  what  Bonaparte  intended  to  make  of  the  Corps 
Legislatif.  M.  de  Fontanes  had  to  deliver  harangues  to  the 
Emperor  under  most  difficult  circumstances,  but  he  always 
acquitted  himself  with  grace  and  distinction.  He  had  but 
little  strength  of  character,  but  his  ability  told  when  he  had 
to  speak  in  public,  and  his  good  taste  lent  him  dignity  and 
impressiveness.  Perhaps  that  was  not  an  advantage  for 
Bonaparte.  Nothing  is  so  dangerous  for  sovereigns  as  to 
have  their  abuses  of  power  clothed  in  the  glowing  colors  of 
eloquence,  when  they  figure  before  nations ;  and  this  is  es- 
pecially dangerous  in  France,  where  forms  are  held  in  such 
high  esteem.  How  often  have  the  Parisians,  although  in 
the  secret  of  the  farce  the  Government  was  acting,  lent  them- 
selves to  the  deception  with  a  good  grace,  simply  because 
the  actors  did  justice  to  that  delicacy  of  taste  which  de- 
mands that  each  shall  do  his  best  with  the  role  assigned 
to  him  ? 

In  the  course  of  the  month  of  January,  the  "Moniteur" 


108  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  ItfiMUSAT. 

published  a  selection  of  articles  from  the  English  journals,  in 
which  the  differences  between  Bavaria  and  Austria,  and  the 
probabilities  of  a  continental  war,  were  discussed.  Para- 
graphs of  this  kind  were  from  time  to  time  inserted  in  the 
newspapers,  without  any  comment,  as  if  to  prepare  us  for 
what  might  happen.  These  intimations — like  the  clouds 
over  mountain  summits,  which  fall  apart  for  a  moment  now 
and  then,  and  afford  a  glimpse  of  what  is  passing  behind — 
allowed  us  to  have  momentary  peeps  at  the  important  dis- 
cussions which  were  taking  place  in  Europe,  so  that  we 
should  not  be  much  surprised  when  they  resulted  in  a  rup- 
ture. After  each  glimpse  the  clouds  would  close  again,  and 
we  would  remain  in  darkness  until  the  storm  burst. 

I  am  about  to  speak  of  an  important  epoch,  concerning 
which  my  memory  is  full  and  faithful.  It  is  that  of  the 
conspiracy  of  Georges  Cadoudal,  and  the  crime  to  which  it 
led.  With  respect  to  General  Moreau,  I  shall  repeat  what  I 
have  heard  said,  but  shall  be  careful  to  affirm  nothing.  I 
think  it  well  to  preface  this  narrative  by  a  brief  explanation 
of  the  state  of  affairs  at  that  time.  Certain  persons,  some- 
what closely  connected  with  politics,  were  beginning  to  as- 
sert that  France  felt  the  necessity  of  hereditary  right  in  the 
governing  power.  Political  courtiers,  and  honest,  sincere 
revolutionists,  seeing  that  the  tranquillity  of  the  country  de- 
pended on  one  life,  were  discussing  the  instability  of  the 
Consulate.  By  degrees  the  thoughts  of  all  were  once  more 
turned  to  monarchy,  and  this  would  have  had  its  advantages 
if  they  could  have  agreed  to  establish  a  monarchy  tempered 
by  the  laws.  Revolutions  have  this  great  disadvantage,  that 
they  divide  public  opinion  into  an  infinite  number  of  varie- 
ties, which  are  all  modified  by  circumstances.  This  it  is 
which  gives  opportunity  to  that  despotism  which  comes  after 
revolutions.  To  restrain  the  power  of  Bonaparte,  it  would 
have  been  necessary  to  venture  on  uttering  the  word  "  Lib- 
erty "  ;  but  as,  only  a  few  years  before,  that  word  had  been 
used  from  one  end  of  France  to  the  other  as  a  disguise  for 


THE  JACOBINS.  109 

the  worst  kind  of  slavery,  it  inspired  an  unreasonable  but 
fatal  repugnance. 

The  Royalists,  finding  that  day  by  day  Bonaparte  was 
departing  more  widely  from  the  path  they  had  expected  he 
would  take,  were  much  disturbed.  The  Jacobins,  whose  op- 
position the  First  Consul  feared  much  more,  were  secretly 
preparing  for  action,  for  they  perceived  that  it  was  to  their 
antagonists  that  the  Government  was  giving  guarantees. 
The  Concordat,  the  advances  made  to  the  old  nobility,  the 
destruction  of  revolutionary  equality,  all  these  things  consti- 
tuted an  encroachment  upon  them.  How  happy  would 
France  have  been  had  Bonaparte  contended  only  against  the 
factions!  But,  to  have  done  that,  he  must  have  been  ani- 
mated solely  by  the  love  of  justice,  and  guided  by  the  coun- 
sels of  a  generous  mind. 

When  a  sovereign,  no  matter  what  his  title  may  be,  sides 
with  one  or  other  of  the  violent  parties  which  stir  up  civil 
strife,  it  is  certain  that  he  has  hostile  intentions  against  the 
rights  of  citizens,  who  have  confided  those  rights  to  his  keep- 
ing. Bonaparte,  in  order  to  fix  his  despotic  yoke  upon 
France,  found  himself  obliged  to  come  to  terms  with  the 
Jacobins ;  and,  unfortunately,  there  are  persons  whom  no 
guarantee  but  that  of  crime  will  satisfy.  Their  ally  must 
involve  himself  in  some  of  their  iniquities.  This  motive  had 
a  great  deal  to  do  with  the  death  of  the  Due  d'Enghien ; 
and  I  am  convinced  that  all  which  happened  at  that  time  was 
the  result  of  no  violent  feeling,  of  no  blind  revenge,  but 
simply  of  a  Machiavellian  policy,  resolved  to  smooth  its  own 
path  at  any  cost.  Neither  was  it  for  the  gratification  of  vani- 
ty that  Bonaparte  wanted  to  change  his  title  of  Consul  for 
that  of  Emperor.  We  must  not  believe  that  he  was  always 
ruled  by  insatiable  passions ;  he  was  capable  of  controlling 
them  by  calculation,  and,  if  in  the  end  he  allowed  himself  to 
be  led  away,  it  was  because  he  became  intoxicated  by  success 
and  flattery.  The  comedy  of  republican  equality,  which  he 
was  obliged  to  play  so  long  as  he  remained  Consul,  annoyed 


110  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE 

him,  and  in  reality  only  deceived  those  who  were  willing  to 
be  deceived.  It  resembled  the  political  pretenses  of  ancient 
Rome,  when  the  Emperors  from  time  to  time  had  themselves 
reflected  by  the  Senate.  I  have  heard  persons  who,  having 
put  on  the  love  of  liberty  like  a  garment,  and  yet  paid  assidu- 
ous court  to  Bonaparte  while  he  was  First  Consul,  declare 
that  they  had  quite  withdrawn  their  esteem  from  him  so  soon 
as  he  conferred  the  title  of  Emperor  upon  himself.  I  never 
could  understand  their  argument.  How  was  it  possible  that 
the  authority  which  he  exercised  almost  from  the  moment  of 
his  entrance  into  the  government  did  not  enlighten  them  as 
to  his  actual  position  ?  Might  it  not  rather  be  said  that  he 
gave  a  proof  of  sincerity  in  his  assumption  of  a  title  whose 
real  powers  he  exercised  ? 

At  the  epoch  of  which  I  am  treating,  it  became  necessary 
that  the  First  Consul  should  strengthen  his  position  by  some 
new  measure.  The  English,  who  had  been  threatened,  were 
secretly  exciting  disturbances  to  act  as  diversions  from  the 
projects  formed  against  themselves ;  their  relations  with  the 
Chouans  were  resumed ;  and  the  Royalists  regarded  the  Con- 
sular Government  as  a  mere  transition  state  from  the  Direc- 
tory to  the  Monarchy.  One  man  only  stood  in  the  way ;  it 
became  easy  to  conclude  that  he  must  be  got  rid  of. 

I  remember  to  have  heard  Bonaparte  say  in  the  summer  of 
that  year  (1804)  that  for  once  events  had  hurried  him,  and 
that  he  had  not  intended  to  establish  royalty  until  two  years 
later.  He  had  placed  the  police  in  the  hands  of  the  Minis- 
ter of  Justice.  This  was  a  sound  and  moral  proceeding,  but  it 
was  contradicted  by  his  intention  that  the  magistracy  should 
use  that  police  as  it  had  been  used  when  it  was  a  revolution- 
ary institution.  I  have  already  said  that  Bonaparte's  first 
ideas  were  generally  good  and  great.  To  conceive  and  carry 
them  out  was  to  exercise  his  power,  but  to  submit  to  them 
afterward  savored  of  abdication.  .  He  was  unable  to  endure 
the  dominion  even  of  any  of  his  own  institutions.  Restrained 
by  the  slow  and  regular  forms  of  justice,  and  also  by  the 


FOUCHfi. 

feebleness  and  mediocrity  of  Ms  Chief  Judge,  he  surrounded 
himself  with  innumerable  police  agents,  and  by  degrees 
regained  confidence  in  Fouche,  who  was  an  adept  in  the  art 
of  making  himself  necessary.  Fouche,  a  man  of  keen  and 
far-seeing  intellect,  a  Jacobin  grown  rich,  and  consequently 
disgusted  with  some  of  the  principles  of  that  party — with 
which,  however,  he  still  remained  connected,  so  that  he 
might  have  support  should  trouble  arise — had  no  objection 
to  invest  Bonaparte  with  royalty.  His  natural  flexibility 
made  him  always  ready  to  accept  any  form  of  government 
in  which  he  saw  a  post  for  himself.  His  habits  were  more 
revolutionary  than  his  principles,  and  the  only  state  of  things, 
I  believe,  which  he  could  not  have  endured,  would  have  been 
one  which  should  make  an  absolute  nonentity  of  him.  To 
make  use  of  him  one  must  thoroughly  understand  his  dispo- 
sition, and  be  very  cautious  in  dealing  with  him,  remember- 
ing that  he  needed  troublous  times  for  the  full  display  of  his 
capacity ;  for,  as  he  had  no  passions  and  no  aversions,  he  rose  at 
such  times  superior  to  the  generality  of  those  about  him,  who 
were  all  more  or  less  actuated  by  either  fear  or  resentment. 

Fouche  has  denied  that  he  advised  the  murder  of  the  Due 
d'Enghien.  Unless  there  is  complete  certainty  of  the  fact,  I 
see  no  reason  for  bringing  the  accusation  of  a  crime  against  a 
man  who  positively  denies  it.  Besides,  Foiiche,  who  was 
very  far-sighted,  must  have  foreseen  that  such  a  deed  would 
give  only  a  temporary  guarantee  to  the  party  which  Bona- 
parte wanted  to  win.  He  knew  the  First  Consul  too  well  to 
fear  that  he  would  think  of  replacing  the  King  on  a  throne 
which  he  might  occupy  himself ,  and  there  is  little  doubt 
that,  with  the  information  he  possessed,  he  would  have  pro- 
nounced the  murder  of  the  Due  d'Enghien  to  be  a  mistake. 

M.  de  Talleyrand's  plans  were  also  served  by  his  advice 
that  Bonaparte  should  invest  himself  with  royalty.  That 
proceeding  would  suit  M.  de  Talleyrand  to  a  nicety.  His 
enemies,  and  even  Bonaparte  himself,  have  accused  him  of 
having  advised  the  murder  of  the  unhappy  prince.  But 


112  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  RtiMUSAT. 

Bonaparte  and  his  enemies  are  not  credible  on  this  point ; 
the  well-known  character  of  M.  de  Talleyrand  is  against  the 
truth  of  the  statement.  He  has  said  to  me  more  than  once 
that  Bonaparte  informed  him  and  the  two  Consuls  of  the 
arrest  of  the  Due  d'Enghien  and  of  his  own  unalterable  de- 
termination at  the  same  time.  He  added  that  they  all  three 
saw  that  words  were  useless,  and  therefore  kept  silence. 
That  was  indeed  a  deplorable  weakness,  but  one  very  com- 
mon to  M.  de  Talleyrand,  who  would  not  think  of  remon- 
strating for  the  sake  of  conscience  only,  when  he  knew  that 
a  line  of  action  had  been  decided  upon.  Opposition  and 
bold  resistance  may  take  effect  upon  any  nature,  however 
resolute.  A  sovereign  of  a  cruel  and  sanguinary  disposition 
will  sometimes  sacrifice  his  inclination  to  the  force  of  reason 
arrayed  against  it.  Bonaparte  was  not  cruel  either  by  incli- 
nation or  on  system ;  he  merely  wanted  to  carry  his  point  by 
the  quickest  and  surest  method.  He  has  himself  said  that 
at  that  time  he  was  obliged  to  get  rid  of  both  Jacobins  and 
Koyalists.  The  imprudence  of  the  latter  furnished  him  with 
this  fatal  opportunity.  He  seized  it ;  and  what  I  shall  here- 
after have  to  relate  will  show  that  it  was  with  the  coolest  of 
calculation,  or  rather  of  sophistry,  that  he  shed  illustrious  and 
innocent  blood. 

A  few  days  after  the  first  return  of  the  King,  the  Due 
de  Eovigo  [General  Savary]  presented  himself  at  my  house 
one  morning.*  He  then  tried  to  clear  himself  from  the 
accusations  that  were  brought  against  him.  He  spoke  to  me 
of  the  death  of  the  Due  d'Enghien.  "  The  Emperor  and  I," 
he  said,  "  were  deceived  on  that  occasion.  One  of  the  infe- 
rior agents  in  Georges  Cadoudal's  conspiracy  had  been  sub- 
orned by  my  police.  He  came  to  us,  and  stated  that  one 
night,  when  all  the  conspirators  were  assembled,  the  secret 
arrival  of  an  important  chief  who  could  not  yet  be  named 

*  The  Due  de  Rovigo  knew  how  intimate  my  husband  and  I  were  with  M. 
de  Talleyrand,  and  he  was  anxious  to  induce  us  to  further  his  interests  in  that 
quarter. 


PICHEGRU.  113 

had  been  announced  to  them.  A  few  nights  later,  a  person 
appeared  among  them,  to  whom  the  others  paid  great  respect. 
The  spy  described  the  unknown  so  as  to  give  us  the  impres- 
sion that  he  was  a  prince  of  the  house  of  Bourbon.  About 
the  same  time  the  Due  d'Enghien  had  established  himself 
at  Ettenheim,  with  the  intention,  no  doubt,  of  awaiting  the 
result  of  the  conspiracy.  The  police  agents  wrote  that  he 
sometimes  disappeared  for  several  days  together.  "We  con- 
cluded that  at  these  times  he  came  to  Paris,  and  his  arrest 
was  resolved  upon.  Afterward,  when  the  spy  was  confront- 
ed with  the  persons  who  had  been  arrested,  he  recognized  Pi- 
chegru  as  the  important  personage  of  whom  he  had  spoken ; 
and  when  I  told  this  to  Bonaparte  he  exclaimed,  with  a 
stamp  of  his  foot,  'Ah,  the  wretch!  what  has  he  made 
me  do?'" 

To  return  to  the  facts.  Pichegru  arrived  in  France  on 
the  loth  of  January,  1804,  and  from  the  25th  of  January  was 
concealed  in  Paris.  It  was  known  that,  in  the  year  5  of  the 
Eepublic,  General  Moreau  had  denounced  him  to  the  Govern- 
ment for  keeping  up  relations  with  the  house  of  Bourbon. 
Moreau  was  supposed  to  hold  Republican  opinions ;  but  he 
had  probably  then  exchanged  them  for  the  idea  of  a  constitu- 
tional monarchy.  I  do  not  know  whether  his  family  would 
now  defend  him  as  earnestly  as  they  did  then  from  the  accu- 
sation of  having  aided  the  plans  of  the  Royalists,  nor  do  I 
know  whether  implicit  confidence  is  to  be  placed  on  confes- 
sions made  in  the  reign  of  Louis  XVIII.  The  conduct  of 
Moreau  in  1813,  and  the  honor  paid  to  his  memory  by  our 
princes,  might,  however,  fairly  lead  us  to  believe  that  they 
had  reason  to  count  on  him  previously.  At  the  period  of 
which  I  am  now  speaking,  Moreau  was  deeply  irritated 
against  Bonaparte.  It  has  never  been  doubted  that  he  visited 
Pichegru  in  secret ;  he  certainly  kept  silence  about  the  con- 
spiracy. Some  of  the  Royalists  who  were  arrested  at  this 
time  declared  that  he  had  merely  displayed  that  prudent 
hesitation  which  waits  to  declare  itself  for  the  success  of  a 


114:  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R^MUSAT. 

party.  Moreau,  it  was  said,  was  a  feeble  and  insignificant 
man,  except  on  the  field  of  battle,  and  overweighted  by  his 
reputation.  "  There  are  persons,"  said  Bonaparte,  "  who  do 
not  know  how  to  wear  their  fame.  The  part  of  Monk  suited 
Moreau  perfectly.  In  his  place  I  should  have  acted  as  he 
did,  only  more  cleverly." 

It  is  not,  however,  in  order  to  justify  Bonaparte  that  I 
mention  my  doubts.  Whatever  was  Moreau's  character,  his 
fame  was  real ;  it  ought  to  have  been  respected,  and  an  old 
comrade  in  arms,  grown  discontented  and  embittered,  ought 
to  have  been  excused.  A  reconciliation  with  him,  even  if  it 
had  only  been  a  result  of  that  political  calculation  which 
Bonaparte  discerned  in  the  "  Auguste  "  of  Corneille,  would 
still  have  been  the  wisest  proceeding.  But  I  do  not  doubt 
that  Bonaparte  was  sincerely  convinced  of  what  he  called 
Moreau's  moral  treason,  and  he  held  that  to  be  sufficient  for 
the  law  and  for  justice,  because  he  always  refused  to  look  at 
the  true  aspect  of  anything  which  was  displeasing  to  himself. 
He  was  assured  that  proofs  to  justify  the  condemnation  of 
Moreau  were  not  wanting.  He  found  himself  committed  to 
a  line  of  action,  and  afterward  he  refused  to  recognize  any- 
thing but  party  spirit  in  the  equity  of  the  tribunals ;  and, 
besides,  he  knew  the  most  injurious  thing  which  could  hap- 
pen to  him  would  be  that  this  interesting  prisoner  should 
be  declared  innocent.  When  he  found  himself  on  the  point 
of  being  compromised,  he  would  stop  at  nothing.  From  this 
cause  arose  the  deplorable  incidents  of  the  famous  trial.  The 
conspiracy  had  been  a  subject  of  conversation  for  several 
days.  On  the  17th  of  February,  1804,  I  went  to  the  Tuile- 
ries  in  the  morning.  The  Consul  was  in  the  room  with  his 
wife ;  I  was  announced  and  shown  in.  Mme.  Bonaparte  was 
in  great  distress ;  her  eyes  were  red  with  crying.  Bonaparte 
was  sitting  near  the  fireplace,  with  little  Napoleon  *  on  his 

*  The  eldest  child  of  Mme.  Louis  Bonaparte,  afterward  Queen  Hortense.  He 
was  born  on  the  10th  of  October,  1802,  and  died  of  croup  on  the  5th  of  May, 
1807.— P.  R. 


ARREST  OF  GENERAL  MOREAU.  115 

knees.  He  looked  grave,  but  not  agitated,  and  was  playing 
mechanically  with  the  child. 

"  Do  you  know  what  I  have  done  ? "  said  he.  I  answered 
in  the  negative.  "  I  have  just  given  an  order  for  Moreau's 
arrest."  1  could  not  repress  a  start.  "  Ah,  you  are  aston- 
ished," said  he.  "  There  will  be  a  great  fuss  about  this,  will 
there  not  ?  Of  course,  it  will  be  said  that  I  am  jealous  of 
Moreau,  that  this  is  revenge,  and  other  petty  nonsense  of  the 
same  kind.  I  jealous  of  Moreau !  Why,  he  owes  the  best 
part  of  his  reputation  to  me.  It  was  I  who  left  a  fine  army 
with  him,  and  kept  only  recruits  with  myself  in  Italy.  I 
wanted  nothing  more  than  to  get  on  well  with  him.  I  cer- 
tainly was  not  afraid  of  him ;  I  am  not  afraid  of  anybody, 
and  less  of  Moreau  than  of  other  people.  I  have  hindered 
him  from  committing  himself  twenty  times  over.  I  warned 
him  that  there  would  be  mischief  made  between  us;  he 
knew  that  as  well  as  I  did.  But  he  is  weak  and  conceited ; 
he  allows  women  to  lead  him,  and  the  various  parties  have 
urged  him." 

While  he  was  speaking  Bonaparte  rose,  approached  his 
wife,  and,  taking  her  by  the  chin,  made  her  hold  up  her 
head.  "  Ha ! "  he  said,  "  every  one  has  not  got  a  good  wife, 
like  me.  You  are  crying,  Josephine.  What  for,  eh  ?  Are 
you  frightened  ? "  "  No  ;  but  I  don't  like  to  think  of  what 
will  be  said."  "  What  ?  How  can  that  be  helped  ?  "  Then, 
turning  to  me,  he  added,  "  I  am  not  actuated  by  any  enmity 
or  any  desire  of  vengeance ;  I  have  reflected  deeply  before 
arresting  Moreau.  I  might  have  shut  my  eyes,  and  given 
him  time  to  fly,  but  it  would  have  been  said  that  I  did  not 
dare  to  bring  him  to  trial.  I  have  the  means  of  convicting 
him.  He  is  guilty ;  I  am  the  Government ;  the  whole  thing 
is  quite  simple." 

I  can  not  tell  whether  the  power  of  my  old  recollections 
^  still  upon  me,  but  I  confess  that  even  at  this  moment  I  can 
hardly  believe  that  when  Bonaparte  spoke  thus  he  was  not 
sincere.  I  have  watched  each  stage  of  progress  in  the  art  of 


116  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  E^MUSAT. 

dissimulation,  and  I  know  that  at  that  particular  epoch  he 
still  retained  certain  accents  of  truthfulness,  which  after- 
ward were  no  longer  to  be  detected  in  his  voice.  Per- 
haps, however,  it  was  only  that  at  that  time  I  still  believed 
in  him. 

With  the  above  words  he  left  us,  and  Mme.  Bonaparte 
told  me  that  he  remained  up  almost  the  whole  of  the  night, 
debating  whether  or  not  he  should  have  Moreau  arrested, 
weighing  the  pros  and  cons  of  the  measure,  without  any 
symptom  of  personal  feeling  in  the  matter ;  that  then,  toward 
daybreak,  he  sent  for  General  Berthier,  and  after  a  long  in- 
terview with  him  he  determined  on  sending  to  Grosbois, 
whither  Moreau  had  retired. 

This  event  gave  rise  to  a  great  deal  of  discussion,  and 
opinion  was  much  divided.  General  Moreau's  brother,  a 
tribune,  spoke  with  great  vehemence  at  the  Tribunate,  and 
produced  considerable  effect.  A  deputation  was  sent  up  by 
the  three  representative  bodies  with  an  address  of  congratu- 
lation to  the  First  Consul.  In  Paris,  all  who  represented  the 
liberal  portion  of  the  population,  a  section  of  the  bourgeoisie, 
lawyers,  and  men  of  letters,  were  warmly  in  favor  of  Moreau. 
It  was,  of  course,  plain  enough  that  political  opposition  formed 
an  element  in  the  interest  exhibited  on  his  behalf ;  his  parti- 
sans agreed  that  they  would  throng  the  court  at  which  he 
was  to  be  brought  up,  and  there  was  even  a  threatening 
whisper  about  what  should  be  done  if  he  were  condemned. 
Bonaparte's  police  informed  him  that  there  was  a  plot  to 
break  into  Moreau's  prison.  This  irritated  him,  and  his 
calmness  began  to  give  way.  Murat,  his  brother-in-law,  who 
was  then  Governor  of  Paris,  hated  Moreau,  and  took  care  to 
add  to  Bonajparte's  exasperation  by  his  daily  reports  to  him, 
he  and  Dubois,  the  Prefect  of  Police,  combining  together  to 
pursue  him  with  alarming  rumors.  Events,  unhappily,  came 
to  the  aid  of  their  design.  Each  day  a  fresh  ramification  of 
the  conspiracy  was  discovered,  and  each  day  Parisian  society 
refused  more  obstinately  than  on  the  preceding  to  believe 


ARREST  OF  GENERAL  MOREAU. 

that  there  was  any  conspiracy  at  all.  A  war  of  opinion  was 
being  waged  between  Bonaparte  and  the  Parisians. 

On  the  29th  of  February  Pichegru's  hiding-place  was  dis- 
covered, and  he  was  arrested,  after  a  gallant  struggle  with 
the  gendarmes.  This  event  somewhat  shook  the  general  in- 
credulity, but  public  interest  still  centered  in  Moreau.  His 
wife's  grief  assumed  a  rather  theatrical  aspect,  and  this  also 
had  its  effect.  In  the  mean  time  Bonaparte,  who  was  igno- 
rant of  the  formalities  of  law,  found  them  much  more  tedi- 
ous than  he  had  expected.  At  the  commencement  of  the 
affair,  the  Chief  Judge  had  too  readily  undertaken  to  sim- 
plify and  shorten  the  procedure,  and  now  only  one  charge 
was  distinctly  made :  that  Moreau  had  held  secret  conferences 
with  Pichegru,  and  had  received  his  confidence,  but  without 
pledging  himself  positively  to  anything.  This  was  not  suffi- 
cient to  secure  a  condemnation,  which  was  becoming  a  neces- 
sity. In  short,  notwithstanding  that  great  name  which  is 
mixed  up  in  the  affair,  Georges  Cadoudal  has  always  been 
believed  to  have  been,  as  at  the  trial  he  appeared  to  be,  the 
real  leader  of  the  conspiracy. 

It  would  be  impossible  to  describe  the  excitement  that 
pervaded  the  palace.  Everybody  was  consulted ;  the  most 
trifling  conversations  were  repeated.  One  day  Savary  took 
M.  de  Eemusat  aside,  and  said,  "  You  have  been  a  magis- 
trate, you  know  the  laws ;  do  you  think  the  details  of  this 
affair  that  we  are  in  possession  of  are  sufficient  for  the  infor- 
mation of  the  judges  ?  "  "  No  man,"  replied  my  husband, 
"  has  ever  been  condemned  merely  because  he  did  not  reveal 
projects  with  which  he  was  made  acquainted.  No  doubt 
that  is  a  political  wrong  with  respect  to  the  Government,  but 
it  is  not  a  crime  which  ought  to  involve  the  penalty  of  death ; 
and,  if  that  is  your  sole  plea,  you  will  only  have  furnished 
Moreau  with  evidence  damaging  to  yourselves."  "  In  that 
case,"  said  Savary,  "the  Chief  Judge  has  led  us  into  making 
a  great  blunder.  It  would  have  been  better  to  have  had  a 
military  commission." 


118  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R&MUSAT. 

From  the  day  of  Picliegru's  arrest,  the  gates  of  Paris 
were  shut,  while  search  was  made  for  Georges  Cadoudal,  who 
eluded  pursuit  with  extraordinary  success.  Fouche,  who 
laid  the  foundations  of  his  new  reputation  on  this  occasion, 
mercilessly  ridiculed  the  unskillfulness  of  the  police,  and  his 
comments  enraged  Bonaparte,  who  was  already  angry  enough ; 
so  that,  when  he  had  incurred  a  real  danger,  and  saw  that  the 
Parisians  were  disinclined  to  believe  the  statement  of  the 
facts,  he  began  to  wish  for  revenge.  "Judge,"  said  he, 
"whether  the  French  can  ever  be  governed  by  legal  and 
moderate  institutions  ?  I  have  put  down  a  revolutionary  but 
useful  department  of  the  ministry,  and  conspiracies  are  im- 
mediately formed.  I  have  foregone  my  own  personal  feel- 
ings ;  I  have  handed  over  the  punishment  of  a  man  who  in- 
tended to  kill  me  to  an  authority  independent  of  myself ; 
and,  far  from  giving  me  any  thanks  for  all  this,  people  laugh 
at  my  moderation,  and  assign  corrupt  motives  to  my  conduct. 
I  will  teach  them  to  belie  my  intentions.  I  will  lay  hold  of 
all  my  powers  again,  and  prove  to  them  that  I  alone  am 
made  to  govern,  to  decide,  and  to  punish." 

Bonaparte  grew  more  and  more  angry  as  lie  became 
aware,  from  moment  to  moment,  that  something  was  amiss 
with  himself.  He  had  thought  to  rule  public  opinion,  but 
here  was  public  opinion  escaping  from  his  hold.  He  had 
been  ruled  himself  by  it  in  the  outset  of  his  career,  I  am 
certain,  and  he  had  gained  no  credit  by  that ;  so  he  resolved 
that  never  again  would  he  be  so  mistaken.  It  will  seem 
strange,  to  those  who  do  not  know  how  utterly  the  wearing 
of  a  uniform  destroys  the  habit  of  thinking,  that  not  the 
slightest  uneasiness  was  felt  on  this  occasion  with  respect  to 
the  army.  Military  men  do  everything  by  word  of  com- 
mand, and  they  abstain  from  opinions  which  are  not  pre- 
scribed to  them.  Yery  few  officers  remembered  then  that 
they  had  fought  and  conquered  under  Moreau,  and  the  'bour- 
geoisie was  much  more  excited  about  the  affair  than  any 
other  class. 


ARREST  OF  GENERAL  MOREAU.  H9 

The  Polignacs,  M.  de  Riviere,  and  some  others  were 
arrested.  Then  the  public  began  to  think  there  really  was 
some  truth  in  the  story  of  the  conspiracy,  and  that  the  plot 
was  a  Eoyalist  one.  Nevertheless,  the  Republican  party 
still  demanded  Moreau.  The  nobility  were  alarmed  and 
kept  very  quiet ;  they  condemned  the  imprudence  of  the 
Polignacs,  who  have  since  acknowledged  that  they  were  not 
seconded  with  so  much  zeal  as  they  had  been  led  to  expect. 
The  error  into  which  they  fell,  and  to  which  the  Royalist 
party  was  always  prone,  was  that  they  believed  in  the  exist- 
ence of  what  they  desired,  and  acted  upon  their  illusions. 
This  is  a  mistake  common  to  men  who  are  led  by  their  pas- 
sions or  by  their  vanity. 

I  suffered  a  great  deal  at  this  time.  At  the  Tuileries  the 
First  Consul  was  moody  and  silent,  his  wife  was  frequently 
in  tears,  his  family  were  angry ;  his  sister  exasperated  him 
by  her  violent  way  of  talking.  In  society  opinions  were 
divided  :  on  the  one  hand  were  distrust,  suspicion,  indignant 
satisfaction  ;  on  the  other,  regret  that  the  attempt  had  failed 
and  passionate  condemnation.  All  these  contentions  dis- 
tracted and  upset  me.  I  shut  myself  up  with  my  mother 
and  my  husband  ;  we  questioned  one  another  about  all  that 
we  heard  and  everything  that  we  respectively  thought.  M. 
de  Remusat's  steady  rectitude  of  mind  was  grieved  by  the 
errors  which  were  perpetrated  ;  and,  as  his  judgment  was 
quite  uninfluenced  by  passion,  he  began  to  dread  the  future, 
and  imparted  to  me  his  sagacious  and  melancholy  prevision 
of  a  character  which  he  studied  closely  and  silently.  His 
apprehensions  distressed  me ;  the  doubts  which  were  spring- 
ing up  in  my  own  mind  rendered  me  very  unhappy.  Alas ! 
the  moment  was  drawing  near  when  I  was  to  be  far  more 
painfully  enlightened. 


CHAPTER   Y. 

The  Arrest  of  Georges  Cadoudal— The  Mission  of  M.  de  Caulaincourt  to  Ettenheim 
— The  Arrest  of  the  Due  d'Enghien — My  Distress  and  my  Urgency  with  Mme. 
Bonaparte — An  Evening  at  Malmaison — The  Death  of  the  Due  d'Enghien — 
Eemarkable  Words  of  the  First  Consul. 

AFTEE  the  arrests  which  I  have  already  recorded,  there 
appeared  in  the  "Moniteur"  certain  articles  from  the 
"  Morning  Chronicle,"  in  which  it  was  stated  that  the  death 
of  Bonaparte  and  the  restoration  of  Louis  XVIII.  were  im- 
minent. It  was  added  that  persons  newly  arrived  from 
London  affirmed  that  speculation  upon  these  eventualities 
was  rife  on  the  Stock  Exchange,  and  that  Georges  Cadoudal, 
Pichegru,  and  Moreau  were  named  openly  there.  In  the 
same  "  Moniteur  "  appeared  a  letter  from  an  Englishman  to 
Bonaparte,  whom  he  addressed  as  "  Monsieur  Consul."  The 
purport  of  this  letter  was  to  recommend,  as  specially  appli- 
cable to  Bonaparte,  a  pamphlet  written  in  Cromwell's  time, 
which  tended  to  prove  that  persons  such  as  Cromwell  and 
himself  could  not  be  assassinated,  because  there  was  no  crime 
in  killing  a  dangerous  animal  or  a  tyrant.  "  To  kill  is  not  to 
assassinate  in  such  cases,"  said  the  pamphlet ;  "  the  difference 
is  great." 

In  France,  however,  addresses  from  all  the  towns  and 
from  all  the  regiments,  and  pastorals  by  all  the  Bishops, 
complimenting  the  First  Consul  and  congratulating  France 
on  the  danger  which  had  been  escaped,  were  forwarded  to 
Paris ;  and  these  documents  were  punctually  inserted  in  the 
"  Moniteur." 

At  length,  on  the  29th  of  March,  Georges  Cadoudal  was 


ARREST  OF  GEORGES  CADOUDAL. 

arrested  in  the  Place  de  POdeon.  He  was  in  a  cabriolet, 
and,  perceiving  that  he  was  followed,  he  urged  on  his  horse. 
A  gendarme  bravely  caught  the  animal  by  the  head,  and  was 
shot  dead  by  Cadoudal ;  the  cabriolet  was,  however,  stopped 
owing  to  the  crowd  which  instantly  collected  at  the  noise  of 
the  pistol-shot,  and  Cadoudal  was  seized.  Between  sixty 
thousand  and  eighty  thousand  francs  in  notes  were  found  on 
him,  and  given  to  the  widow  of  the  man  whom  he  had 
killed.  The  newspapers  stated  that  he  acknowledged  he  had 
come  to  France  for  no  other  purpose  than  to  assassinate 
Bonaparte ;  but  I  remember  to  have  heard  at  the  time  that 
the  prisoner,  whose  courage  and  firmness  during  the  whole 
of  the  proceedings  were  unshaken,  and  who  evinced  great 
devotion  to  the  house  of  Bourbon,  steadily  denied  that  there 
had  ever  been  any  purpose  of  assassination,  while  admitting 
that  his  intentions  had  been  to  attack  the  carriage  of  the 
First  Consul,  and  to  carry  him  off  without  harming  him. 

At  this  time  the  King  of  England  (George  III.)  was 
taken  seriously  ill,  and  our  Government  reckoned  upon  his 
death  to  insure  the  retirement  of  Mr.  Pitt  from  the  ministry. 

On  the  21st  of  March  the  following  appeared  in  the 
"  Moniteur  "  :  "  Prince  de  Conde  has  addressed  a  circular  to 
the  emigres,  with  a  view  to  collecting  them  on  the  Rhine. 
A  prince  of  the  house  of  Bourbon  is  now  on  the  frontier  for 
that  purpose." 

Immediately  afterward  the  secret  correspondence  that 
had  been  taken  from  Mr.  Drake,  the  accredited  English 
Minister  in  Bavaria,  was  published.  These  proved  that  the 
English  Government  was  leaving  no  means  untried  of  creat- 
ing disturbance  in  France.  M.  de  Talleyrand  was  directed 
to  send  copies  of  this  correspondence  to  all  the  members  of 
the  Corps  Diplomatique,  and  they  expressed  their  indigna- 
tion in  letters  which  were  inserted  in  the  "  Moniteur." 

Holy  Week  was  approaching.  On  Passion  Sunday,  the 
18th  of  March,  my  week  of  attendance  on  Mme.  Bonaparte 
began.  I  went  to  the  Tuileries  in  the  morning,  in  time  for 


122  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R&MUSAT. 

mass,  which,  was  again  celebrated  with  all  the  former  pomp. 
After  mass,  Mme.  Bonaparte  received  company  in  the  great 
drawing-room,  and  remained  for  some  time,  talking  to  sev- 
eral persons.  When  we  went  down  to  her  private  apart- 
ments, she  informed  me  that  we  were  to  pass  that  week  at 
Malmaison.  "  I  am  very  glad,"  she  added ;  "Paris  frightens 
me  just  now."  Shortly  afterward  we  set  out;  Bonaparte 
was  in  his  own  carriage,  Mme.  Bonaparte  and  myself  in  hers. 
I  observed  that  she  was  very  silent  and  sad  for  a  part  of  the 
way,  and  I  let  her  see  that  I  was  uneasy  about  her.  At  first 
she  seemed  reluctant  to  give  me  any  explanation,  but  at 
length  she  said,  "  I  am  going  to  trust  you  with  a  great  secret. 
This  morning  Bonaparte  told  me  that  he  had  sent  M.  de 
Caulaincourt  to  the  frontier  to  seize  the  Due  d'Enghien. 
He  is  to  be  brought  back  here."  "Ah,  madame,"  I  ex- 
claimed, "  what  are  they  going  to  do  with  him ? "  "I  be- 
lieve," she  answered,  "  he  will  have  him  tried."  I  do  not 
think  I  have  ever  in  my  life  experienced  such  a  thrill  of 
terror  as  that  which  her  words  sent  through  me.  Mme. 
Bonaparte  thought  I  was  going  to  faint,  and  let  down  all  the 
glasses.  "  I  have  done  what  I  could,"  she  went  on,  "  to  in- 
duce him  to  promise  me  that  the  prince's  life  shall  not 
be  taken,  but  I  am  greatly  afraid  his  mind  is  made  up." 
"  What,  do  you  really  think  he  will  have  him  put  to  death  ? " 
"  I  fear  so."  At  these  words  I  burst  into  tears,  and  then,  so 
soon  as  I  could  master  my  emotion  sufficiently  to  be  able  to 
speak,  I  urged  upon  her  the  fatal  consequences  of  such  a 
deed,  the  indelible  stain  of  the  royal  blood,  whose  shedding 
would  satisfy  the  Jacobin  party  only,  the  strong  interest 
with  which  the  prince  inspired  all  the  other  parties,  the  great 
name  of  Conde,  the  general  horror,  the  bitter  animosity 
which  would  be  aroused,  and  many  other  considerations.  I 
urged  every  side  of  the  question,  of  which  Mme.  Bonaparte 
contemplated  one  only.  The  idea  of  a  murder  was  that 
which  had  struck  her  most  strongly;  but  I  succeeded  in 
seriously  alarming  her,  and  she  promised  me  that  she  would 


THE  MISSION  OF  M.    CAULAINGOUET.  123 

endeavor  by  every  means  in  her  power  to  induce  Bonaparte 
to  relinquish  his  fatal  purpose. 

We  both  arrived  at  Malmaison  in 'the  deepest  dejection. 
I  took  refuge  at  once  in  my  own  room,  where  I  wept  bitter- 
ly. I  was  completely  overwhelmed  by  this  terrible  discov- 
ery. I  liked  and  admired  Bonaparte ;  I  believed  him  to  be 
called  by  an  invincible  power  to  the  highest  of  human  desti- 
nies; I  allowed  my  youthful  imagination  to  run  riot  con- 
cerning him.  All  in  a  moment,  the  veil  which  hid  the  truth 
from  my  eyes  was  torn  away,  and  by  my  own  feelings  at  that 
instant  I  could  only  too  accurately  divine  what  would  be  the 
general  opinion  of  such  an  act. 

There  was  no  one  at  Malmaison  to  whom  I  could  speak 
freely.  My  husband  was  not  in  waiting,  and  had  remained 
in  Paris.  I  was  obliged  to  control  my  agitation,  and  to 
make  my  appearance  with  an  unmoved  countenance;  for 
Mme.  Bonaparte  had  earnestly  entreated  me  not  to  let  Bo- 
naparte divine  that  she  had  spoken  to  me  of  this  matter. 

On  going  down  to  the  drawing-room  at  six  o'clock,  I 
found  the  First  Consul  playing  a  game  of  chess.  He  ap- 
peared quite  serene  and  calm  ;  it  made  me  ill  to  look  at  his 
face.  So  completely  had  my  mind  been  upset  by  all  that 
had  passed  through  it  during  the  last  two  hours,  that  I  could 
not  regard  him  with  the  feelings  which  his  presence  usually 
inspired  ;  it  seemed  to  me  that  I  must  see  some  extraordinary 
alteration  in  him.  A  few  officers  dined  with  him.  Nothing 
whatever  of  any  significance  occurred.  After  dinner  he 
withdrew  to  his  cabinet,  where  he  transacted  business  with 
his  police.  That  night,  when  I  was  leaving  Mme.  Bona- 
parte, she  again  promised  me  that  she  would  renew  her  en- 
treaties. 

I  joined  her  as  early  as  I  could  on  the  following  morning, 
and  found  her  quite  in  despair.  Bonaparte  had  repelled  her 
at  every  point.  He  had  told  her  that  women  had  no  concern 
with  such  matters  ;  that  his  policy  required  this  coup  $etat  / 
that  by  it  he  should  acquire  the  right  to  exercise  clemency 


124  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  RfiMUSAT. 

hereafter ;  that,  in  fact,  he  was  forced  to  choose  between  this 
decisive  act  and  a  long  series  of  conspiracies  which  he  would 
have  to  punish  in  detail,  as  impunity  would  have  encouraged 
the  various  parties.  He  should  have  to  go  on  prosecuting, 
exiling,  condemning,  without  end ;  to  revoke  his  measures 
of  mercy  toward  the  emigres  ;  to  place  himself  in  the  hands 
of  the  Jacobins.  The  Royalists  had  more  than  once  com- 
promised him  with  the  revolutionists.  The  contemplated 
action  would  set  him  free  from  all  parties  alike.  Besides, 
the  Due  d'Enghien,  after  all,  had  joined  in  the  conspiracy  of 
Georges  Cadoudal ;  he  was  a  cause  of  disturbance  to  France, 
and  a  tool  in  the  hands  of  England  for  effecting  her  purposes 
of  vengeance.  The  prince's  military  reputation  might  in  the 
future  prove  a  source  of  trouble  in  the  army ;  whereas  by 
his  death  the  last  link  between  our  soldiers  and  the  Bourbons 
would  be  broken.  In  politics,  a  death  which  tranquillizes  a 
nation  is  not  a  crime.  Finally,  he  had  given  his  orders — he 
would  not  withdraw  them ; '  there  was  an  end  of  the  matter. 

During  this  interview,  Mme.  Bonaparte  informed  her 
husband  that  he  was  about  to  aggravate  the  heinousness  of 
the  deed  by  the  selection  of  M.  de  Caulaincourt,  whose  pa- 
rents had  formerly  been  in  the  household  of  the  Prince  de 
Conde,  as  the  person  who  was  to  arrest  the  Due  d'Enghien. 
"  I  did  not  know  that,"  replied  Bonaparte  ;  "  but  what  does 
it  matter?  If  Caulaincourt  is  compromised,  there  is  no 
great  harm  in  that ;  indeed,  it  will  only  make  him  serve  me 
all  the  better,  and  the  opposite  party  will  henceforth  forgive 
him  for  being  a  gentleman."  He  then  added  that  M.  de 
Caulaincourt,  who  had  been  informed  of  only  a  portion  of 
his  plan,  believed  that  the  Due  d'Enghien  was  to  be  impris- 
oned in  France. 

My  heart  failed  me  at  these  words.  M.  de  Caulaincourt 
was  a  friend  of  mine.  It  seemed  to  me  that  he  ought  to 
have  refused  to  undertake  such  a  task  as  that  which  had  been 
imposed  upon  him. 

The  day  passed  drearily.     I  remember  that  Mme.  Bona- 


MY  DISTRESS  AND   URGENCY.  125 

parte,  who  was  very  fond  of  trees  and  flowers,  was  busy  dur- 
ing the  morning  superintending  the  transplanting  of  a  cy- 
press to  a  newly  laid-out  portion  of  her  garden.  She  threw 
a  few  handfuls  of  earth  on  the  roots  of  the  tree,  so  that  she 
might  say  that  she  had  planted  it  with  her  own  hands.  "  Ah, 
madame,"  said  I  to  her,  as  I  observed  her  doing  so,  "a 
cypress  is  just  the  tree  to  suit  such  a  day  as  this."  I  have 
never  passed  by  that  cypress  since  without  a  thrill  of  pain. 

My  profound  emotion  distressed  Mme.  Bonaparte.  She 
had  great  faith  in  all  Bonaparte's  views,  and,  owing  to  her 
natural  levity  and  fickleness,  she  excessively  disliked  painful 
or  lasting  impressions.  Her  feelings  were  quick,  but  extra- 
ordinarily evanescent.  Being  convinced  that  the  death  of 
the  Due  d'Enghien  was  inevitable,  she  wanted  to  get  rid  of 
an  unavailing  regret ;  but  I  would  not  allow  her  to  do  so. 
I  importuned  her  all  day  long,  without  ceasing.  She  listened 
to  me  with  extreme  gentleness  and  kindness,  but  in  utter 
dejection ;  she  knew  Bonaparte  better  than  I.  I  wept  while 
talking  to  her ;  I  implored  her  not  to  allow  herself  to  be  put 
down,  and,  as  I  was  not  without  influence  over  her,  I  suc- 
ceeded in  inducing  her  to  make  a  last  attempt. 

"  Mention  me  to  the  First  Consul,  if  necessary,"  said  I. 
"  I  am  of  very  little  importance,  but  at  least  he  will  be  able 
to  judge  of  the  impression  he  is  about  to  make  by  the  effect 
upon  me,  and  I  am  more  attached  to  him  than  other  people 
are.  I3  who  would  ask  nothing  better  than  to  find  excuses 
for  him,  can  not  see  even  one  for  what  he  intends  to  do." 

We  saw  very  little  of  Bonaparte  during  the  whole  of  that 
second  day.  The  Chief  Judge,  the  Prefect  of  Police,  and 
Murat  all  came  to  Malmaison,  and  had  prolonged  audience 
of  the  First  Consul ;  I  augured  ill  from  their  countenances. 
I  remained  up  a  great  part  of  the  night ;  and  when  at  length 
I  fell  asleep  my  dreams  were  frightful.  I  fancied  that  I 
heard  constant  movements  in  the  chateau,  and  that  a  fresh 
attempt  was  about  to  be  made  upon  our  lives.  I  was  pos- 
sessed with  a  strong  desire  to  go  and  throw  myself  at  Bona- 


126  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R&MUSAT. 

parte's  feet,  and  implore  him  to  take  pity  upon  his  own  fame, 
which  I  then  believed  to  be  very  pure  and  bright,  and  I 
grieved  heartily  over  the  tarnishing  of  it.  The  hours  of  that 
night  can  never  be  effaced  from  my  memory. 

On  the  Tuesday  morning  Mme.  Bonaparte  said  to  me, 
"  All  is  useless.  The  Due  d'Enghien  arrives  this  evening. 
He  will  be  taken  to  Yincennes  and  tried  to-night.  Murat 
has  undertaken  the  whole.  He  is  odious  in  this  matter ;  it  is 
he  who  is  urging  Bonaparte  on,  by  telling  him  that  his  clem- 
ency will  be  taken  for  weakness,  that  the  Jacobins  will  be 
furious,  and  one  party  is  now  displeased  because  the  former 
fame  of  Moreau  has  not  been  taken  into  consideration,  and 
will  ask  why  a  Bourbon  should  be  differently  treated.  Bona- 
parte has  forbidden  me  to  speak  to  him  again  on  the  sub- 
ject. He  asked  me  about  you,"  she  added,  "  and  I  acknowl- 
edged that  I  had  told  you  everything.  He  had  perceived 
your  distress.  Pray  try  to  control  yourself." 

At  this  I  lost  all  self-restraint,  and  exclaimed,  "  Let  him 
think  what  he  likes  of  me.  It  matters  very  little  to  me, 
madame,  I  assure  you ;  and  if  he  asks  me  why  I  am  weeping, 
I  will  tell  him  that  I  weep  for  him."  And,  in  fact,  I  again 
burst  into  tears. 

Mme.  Bonaparte  was  thrown  into  utter  consternation  by 
the  state  I  was  in — she  was  almost  a  stranger  to  any  strong 
mental  emotion ;  and  when  she  tried  to  calm  me  by  reassur- 
ing words  I  could  only  say  to  her,  "  Ah,  madame,  you  do  not 
understand  me!"  After  this  event,  she  said,  Bonaparte 
would  go  on  just  as  he  had  done  before.  Alas !  it  was  not 
the  future  which  was  troubling  me.  I  did  not  doubt  his 
power  over  himself  and  others.  The  anguish  that  filled  my 
whole  being  was  interior  and  personal. 

Dinner  hour  came,  and  she  had  to  go  down  with  a  com- 
posed face.  Mine  was  quite  beyond  my  control.  Again  Bo- 
naparte was  playing  chess :  he  had  taken  a  fancy  to  that  game. 
Immediately  on  perceiving  me  he  called  me  to  him,  saying 
that  he  wanted  to  consult  me.  I  was  not  able  to  speak.  He 


AN  EVENING  AT  MALMAISON.  127 

addressed  me  in  a  tone  of  kindness  and  interest,  which  in- 
creased my  confusion  and  distress.  When  dinner  was  served, 
he  placed  me  near  himself,  and  asked  me  a  number  of  ques- 
tions about  the  affairs  of  my  family.  He  seemed  bent  on 
bewildering  me,  and  hindering  me  from  thinking.  Little 
Napoleon  (the  son  of  Louis  and  Hortense)  had  been  brought 
down  from  Paris ;  and  his  uncle  placed  the  child  in  the  mid- 
dle of  the  table,  and  seemed  much  amused  when  he  pulled 
the  dishes  about,  and  upset  everything  within  his  reach. 

After  dinner  he  sat  on  the  floor,  playing  with  the  boy, 
and  apparently  in  very  high  spirits,  but,  it  seemed  to  me,  as- 
sumed. Mme.  Bonaparte,  who  was  afraid  that  he  would 
have  been  angry  at  what  she  had  told  him  about  me,  looked 
from  him  to  me,  smiling  sweetly,  as  if  she  would  have  said, 
"You  see,  he  is  not  so  bad  after  all ;  we  may  make  our 
minds  easy." 

I  hardly  knew  where  I  was.  I  felt  as  though  I  were 
dreaming  a  bad  dream ;  no  doubt  I  looked  bewildered.  Sud- 
denly, fixing  a  piercing  gaze  on  me,  Bonaparte  said,  "  Why 
have  you  no  rouge  on  ?  You  are  too  pale."  I  answered 
that  I  had  forgotten  to  put  on  any.  "  What ! "  said  he,  "  a 
woman  forget  to  put  on  her  rouge?"  And  then,  with  a 
loud  laugh,  he  turned  to  his  wife  and  added,  "  That  would 
never  happen  to  you,  Josephine."  I  was  greatly  disconcert- 
ed, and  he  completed  my  discomfiture  by  remarking,  "  Two 
things  are  very  becoming  to  women — rouge  and  tears." 

When  General  Bonaparte  was  in  high  spirits,  he  was 
equally  devoid  of  taste  and  moderation,  and  on  such  occasions 
his  manners  smacked  of  the  barrack-room.  He  went  on  for 
some  time  jesting  with  his  wife  with  more  freedom  than 
delicacy,  and  then  challenged  me  to  a  game  of  chess.  He 
did  not  play  well,  and  never  would  observe  the  correct 
"  moves."  I  allowed  him  to  do  as  he  liked ;  every  one  in 
the  room  kept  silence.  Presently  he  began  to  mutter  some 
lines  of  poetry,  and  then  repeated  a  little  louder,  "  Soyons  ami, 

Cinna  "  and  Guzman's  lines  in  Act  v.  Scene  vii.  of  "  Alzire  "  : 
12 


128  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  RJ&MUSAT. 

"  Des  dieux  que  nous  servons  connais  la  difference : 
Les  tiens  font  coramande  le  meurtre  et  la  vengeance : 
Et  le  mien,  quand  ton  bras  vient  de  m'assassiner, 
M'ordonne  de  te  plaindre  et  de  te  pardonner." 

As  he  half  whispered  the  line, 

"  Et  le  mien,  quand  ton  bras  vient  de  m'assassiner," 

I  could  not  refrain  from  raising  my  eyes  and  looking  at  him. 
He  smiled,  and  went  on  repeating  the  verses.  In  truth,  at 
that  moment  I  did  believe  that  he  had  deceived  his  wife  and 
everybody  else,  and  was  planning  a  grand  scene  of  magnani- 
mous pardon.  I  caught  eagerly  at  this  idea,  and  it  restored 
me  to  composure.  My  imagination  was  very  juvenile  in 
those  days,  and  I  longed  so  much  to  be  able  to  hope  ! 

"  You  like  poetry  ? "  Bonaparte  asked  me.  How  I  longed 
to  answer,  "  Especially  when  the  lines  are  applicable  " ;  but 
I  did  not  dare  to  utter  the  words.  I  may  as  well  mention  in 
this  place  that  the  very  day  after  I  had  set  down  the  above 
reminiscence,  a  friend  lent  me  a  book  entitled  "  Memoires 
Secretes  sur  la  Yie  de  Lucien  Bonaparte."  This  work,  which 
is  probably  written  by  a  secretary  of  Lucien's,  is  inaccurate 
in  several  instances.  Some  notes  added  at  the  end  are  said 
to  be  written  by  a  person  worthy  of  belief.  I  found  among 
them  the-  following,  which  struck  me  as  curious :  "  Lucien 
was  informed  of  the  death  of  the  Due  d'Enghien  by  General 
Hullin,  a  relative  of  Mme.  Jouberthon,  who  came  to  her 
house  some  hours  after  that  event,  looking  the  image  of  grief 
and  consternation.  The  Military  Council  had  been  assured 
that  the  First  Consul  only  purposed  to  assert  his  authority, 
and  fully  intended  to  pardon  the  prince,  and  certain  lines 
from  *  Alzire,'  commencing 

4  Des  dieux  que  nous  servons  connais  la  difference,' 

had  been  quoted  to  them." 

But  to  resume.  We  went  on  with  our  game,  and  his 
gayety  gave  me  more  and  more  confidence.  We  were  still 


DEATH  OF  TEE  DUG  &ENGHIEN.  129 

playing  when  the  sound  of  carriage-wheels  was  heard,  and 
presently  General  Hullin  was  announced.  Bonaparte  pushed 
away  the  chess-table  roughly,  rose,  and  went  into  the  adjoin- 
ing gallery.  There  he  remained  all  the  rest  of  the  evening, 
with  Murat,  Hullin,  and  Savary.  We  saw  no  more  of  him, 
and  yet  I  went  to  my  room  feeling  more  easy.  I  could  not 
believe  but  that  Bonaparte  must  be  moved  by  the  fact  of 
having  such  a  victim  in  his  hands.  I  hoped  the  prince  would 
ask  to  see  him ;  and  in  fact  he  did  so,  adding,  "  If  the  First 
Consul  would  consent  to  see  me,  he  would  do  me  justice,  for 
he  would  know  that  I  have  done  my  duty."  My  idea  was 
that  Bonaparte  would  go  to  Yincennes,  and  publicly  grant 
the  prince  pardon  in  person.  If  he  were  not  going  to  act 
thus,  why  should  he  have  quoted  those  lines  from  "  Alzire  "  ? 
•  That  night,  that  terrible  night,  passed.  Early  in  the 
morning  I  went  down  to  the  drawing-room,  and  there  I 
found  Savary.  He  was  deadly  pale,  and  I  must  do  him  the 
justice  to  say  that  his  face  betrayed  great  agitation.  He 
spoke  to  me  with  trembling  lips,  but  his  words  were  quite 
insignificant.  I  did  not  question  him;  for  persons  of  his 
kind  will  always  say  what  they  want  to  say  without  being 
asked,  although  they  never  give  answers. 

Mme.  Bonaparte  came  in,  looked  at  me  very  sadly,  and, 
as  she  took  her  seat,  said  to  Savary,  "  Well — so  it  is  done  ? " 
"  Yes,  madame,"  he  answered.  "  He  died  this  morning,  and, 
I  am  bound  to  acknowledge,  with  great  courage."  I  was 
struck  dumb  with  horror. 

Mme.  Bonaparte  asked  for  details.  They  have  all  been 
made  known  since.  The  prince  was  taken  to  one  of  the 
trenches  of  the  chateau.  Being  offered  a  handkerchief  to 
bind  his  eyes  with,  he  rejected  it  with  dignity,  and,  address- 
ing the  gendarmes,  said, "  You  are  Frenchmen :  at  least  you 
will  do  me  the  service  not  to  miss  your  aim."  He  placed  in 
Savary's  hands  a  ring,  a  lock  of  hair,  and  a  letter  for  Mme. 
de  Rohan ;  and  all  these  Savary  showed  to  Mme.  Bonaparte. 
The  letter  was  open ;  it  was  brief  and  tender.  I  do  not 


130  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  LE  RtiMUSAT. 

know  whether  these  last  wishes  of  the  unfortunate  prince 
were  carried  out. 

"After  his  death,"  said  Savary,  "the  gendarmes  were 
told  that  they  might  take  his  clothes,  his  watch,  and  the 
money  he  had  in  his  pocket ;  bat  not  one  of  them  would 
touch  anything.  People  may  say  what  they  like,  but  one 
can  not  see  a  man  like  that  die  as  coolly  as  one  can  see  others. 
I  feel  it  hard  to  get  over  it." 

Presently  Eugene  de  Beauharnais  made  his  appearance. 
He  was  too  young  to  have  recollections  of  the  past,  and  in 
his  eyes  the  Due  d'Enghien  was  simply  a  conspirator  against 
the  life  of  his  master.  Then  came  certain  generals,  whose 
names  I  will  not  set  down  here ;  and  they  approved  of  the 
deed  so  loudly  that  Mme.  Bonaparte  thought  it  necessary  to 
apologize  for  her  own  dejection,  by  repeating  over  and  over 
again  the  unmeaning  sentence,  "  I  am  a  woman,  you  know, 
and  I  confess  I  could  cry." 

In  the  course  of  the  morning  a  number  of  visitors  came 
to  the  Tuileries.  Among  them  were  the  Consuls,  the  Min- 
isters, and  Louis  Bonaparte  and  his  wife.  Louis  preserved  a 
sullen  silence,  which  seemed  to  imply  disapprobation.  Mme. 
Louis  was  so  frightened  that  she  did  not  dare  to  feel,  and 
seemed  to  be  asking  what  she  ought  to  think.  "Women,  even 
more  than  men,  were  subjugated  by  the  magic  of  that  sacra- 
mental phrase  of  Bonaparte's — "My  policy."  "With  those 
words  he  crushed  one's  thoughts,  feelings,  and  even  impres- 
sions ;  and,  when  he  uttered  them,  no  one  in  the  palace, 
especially  no  woman,  would  have  dared  to  ask  him  what  he 
meant. 

My  husband  also  came  during  the  morning,  and  his  pre- 
sence relieved  me  from  the  terrible  oppression  from  which  I 
was  suffering.  He,  like  myself,  was  grieved  and  downcast. 
How  grateful  I  was  to  him  for  not  lecturing  me  upon  the 
absolute  necessity  of  our  appearing  perfectly  composed  under 
the  circumstances !  We  sympathized  in  every  feeling.  He 
told  me  that  the  general  sentiment  in  Paris  was  one  of  dis- 


THE  FIRST  CONSUL'S  REMARKABLE  WORDS.     131 

gust,  and  that  the  heads  of  the  Jacobin  party  said,  "  He  be- 
longs to  us  now."  He  added  the  following  words,  which  I 
have  frequently  recalled  to  mind  since:  "The  Consul  has 
taken  a  line  which  will  force  him  into  laying  aside  the  use- 
ful, in  order  to  efface  this  recollection,  and  into  dazzling  us 
by  the  extraordinary  and  the  unexpected."  He  also  said  to 
Mme.  Bonaparte :  "  There  is  one  important  piece  of  advice 
which  you  ought  to  give  the  First  Consul.  It  is  that  he 
should  not  lose  a  moment  in  restoring  public  confidence. 
Opinion  is  apt  to  be  precipitate  in  Paris.  He  ought  at  least 
to  prove  to  the  people  that  the  event  which  has  just  occurred 
is  not  due  to  the  development  of  a  cruel  disposition,  but  to 
reasons  whose  force  I  am  not  called  upon  to  determine,  and 
which  ought  to  make  him  very  circumspect." 

Mme.  Bonaparte  fully  appreciated  the  advice  of  M.  de 
Kemusat,  and  immediately  repeated  his  words  to  her  husband. 
He  seemed  well  disposed  to  listen  to  her,  and  answered 
briefly,  "  That  is  quite  true."  On  rejoining  Mme.  Bonaparte 
before  dinner,  I  found  her  in  the  gallery,  with  her  daughter 
and  M.  de  Caulaincourt,  who  had  just  arrived.  He  had 
superintended  the  arrest  of  the  prince,  but  had  not  accom- 
panied him  to  Paris.  I  recoiled  at  the  sight  of  him.  "  And 
you,  too,"  said  he,  addressing  me,  so  that  all  could  hear  him, 
"  you  are  going  to  detest  me !  And  yet  I  am  only  unfor- 
tunate ;  but  that  I  am  in  no  small  degree,  for  the  Consul  has 
disgraced  me  by  this  act.  Such  is  the  reward  of  my  devotion 
to  him.  I  have  been  shamefully  deceived,  and  I  am  now 
ruined."  He  shed  tears  while  speaking,  and  I  could  not  but 
pity  him. 

Mme.  Bonaparte  assured  me  afterward  that  he  had  spoken 
in  the  same  way  to  the  First  Consul,  and  I  was  myself  a 
witness  to  his  maintenance  of  a  severe  and  angry  bearing 
toward  Bonaparte,  who  made  many  advances  to  him,  but  for 
a  long  time  in  vain.  The  First  Consul  laid  out  his  plans  be- 
fore him,  but  found  him  cold  and  uninterested ;  then  he  made 
him  brilliant  offers,  by  way  of  amends,  which  were  at  first 


132  MEMOIRS  Of  MADAME  DE  RfiMUSAT. 

rejected.     Perhaps  they  ought  to  have  been  always  re- 
fused. 

In  the  mean  time  public  opinion  declared  itself  strongly 
against  M.  de  Caulaincourt.  Certain  persons  condemned 
the  aide-de-camp  mercilessly,  while  they  made  excuses  for 
the  master;  and  such  injustice  exasperated  M.  de  Caulain- 
court, who  might  have  bowed  his  head  before  frank  and 
candid  censure,  fairly  distributed  between  them.  When, 
however,  he  saw  that  every  sort  of  affront  was  to  be  heaped 
on  him,  in  order  that  the  real  culprit  might  go  quite  free,  he 
conceived  an  utter  disdain  for  these  people,  and  consented  to 
force  them  into  silence  by  placing  himself  in  a  position  of 
such  authority  as  would  enable  him  to  overrule  them.  He 
was  urged  to  take  this  course  by  Bonaparte,  and  also  by  his 
own  ambition.  "  Do  not  act  like  a  fool,"  said  the  former. 
"  If  you  retreat  before  the  blows  which  are  aimed  at  you, 
you  will  be  done  for ;  no  one  will  give  you  any  thanks  or 
credit  for  your  tardy  opposition  to  my  wishes,  and  you  will 
be  all  the  more  heavily  censured  because  you  are  not  formid- 
able." By  dint  of  similar  reasoning  frequently  reiterated, 
and  by  the  employment  of  every  sort  of  device  for  consoling 
and  coaxing  M.  de  Caulaincourt,  Bonaparte  succeeded  in 
appeasing  his  resentment,  and  by  degrees  he  raised  him  to 
posts  of  great  dignity  about  his  own  person.  The  weakness 
which  induced  M.  de  Caulaincourt  to  pardon  the  indelible 
injury  which  the  First  Consul  had  done  him  may  be  more 
or  less  blamed ;  but,  at  least,  it  should  be  admitted  that  he 
was  never  a  blind  or  servile  courtier,  and  that  he  remained  to 
the  last  among  the  small  number  of  Bonaparte's  servants  who 
never  neglected  an  opportunity  of  telling  him  the  truth.* 

*  M.  de  Caulaincourt  retained  the  same  feelings  all  his  life,  and  very  severely 
condemned  the  policy  and  the  personal  character  of  Bonaparte,  whose  fatal  pro- 
jects he  frequently  endeavored  to  avert.  M.  Monnier,  the  son  of  the  celebrated 
member  of  the  Assemblies  of  the  Revolution,  with  whom  my  father  was  very  in- 
timate in  his  youth,  told  him  that  in  the  campaign  of  1813  M.  de  Caulaincourt, 
then  Due  de  Vienne,  while  accompanying  the  Emperor  with  several  members  of 
his  staff  and  of  his  household,  saw  a  shell  strike  the  ground  close  by  Napoleon. 


THE  FIRST  CONSUL'S  REMARKABLE  WORDS.     133 

Before  dinner,  both  Mme.  Bonaparte  and  her  daughter 
entreated  me  to  command  my  countenance  as  much  as  pos- 
sible. The  former  told  me  that  her  husband  had  asked  her 
that  morning  what  effect  the  deplorable  news  had  produced 
upon  me ;  and  on  her  replying  that  I  had  wept,  he  said, 
"  That  is  a  matter  of  course  ;  she  merely  did  what  was  to  be 
expected  of  her  as  a  woman.  You  don't  understand  any- 
thing about  our  business ;  but  it  will  all  subside  and  every- 
body will  see  that  I  have  not  made  a  blunder." 

At  length  dinner  was  announced.  In  addition  to  the 
household  officers  on  duty  for  that  week,  the  dinner-party 
included  M.  and  Mme.  Louis  Bonaparte,  Eugene  Beauharnais, 
M.  de  Caulaincourt,  and  General  Hullin,  who  was  then  Com- 
mandant of  Paris.  The  sight  of  this  man  affected  me  pain- 
fully. His  expression  of  face,  perfectly  unmoved,  was  just 
the  same  on  that  day  as  it  had  been  on  the  preceding.*  I 
quite  believe  that  he  did  not  think  he  had  done  an  ill  deed, 
or  that  he  had  performed  an  act  of  zeal  in  presiding  over  the 
military  commission  which  condemned  the  prince.  Bonaparte 
rewarded  the  fatal  service  which  he  had  rendered  him  with 
money  and  promotion,  but  he  said  more  than  once,  when  he 
noted  Hullin's  presence,  "  The  sight  of  him  annoys  me ;  he 
reminds  me  of  things  which  I  do  not  like." 

Bonaparte  did  not  come  into  the  drawing-room  at  all ;  he 
went  from  his  cabinet  to  the  dinner-table.  He  affected  no 
high  spirits  that  day ;  on  the  contrary,  he  remained  during 
the  whole  time  of  dinner  in  a  profound  reverie.  We  were 
all  very  silent.  Just  as  we  were  about  to  rise  from  table,  the 
First  Consul  said,  in  a  harsh,  abrupt  tone,  as  if  in  reply  to 

He  rode  up,  putting  his  horse  between  the  Emperor  and  the  missile,  and  covered 
him  as  much  as  possible  from  the  fragments  of  the  shell,  which  happily  explod- 
ed without  hitting  anybody.  In  the  evening.  M.  Monnier,  who  was  supping  at 
headquarters,  spoke  to  him  of  this  deed  of  bravery,  by  which  he  had  risked  his 
own  life  to  save  that  of  his  master.  "  That  is  true,"  replied  the  Due  de  Vienne, 
"  and  yet  I  could  not  believe  that  there  is  a  God  in  heaven  if  that  man  were  to 
die  on  the  throne." 

*  I  have  since  been  assured  that  he  was  deeply  grieved. 


134:  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  RtiMUSAT. 

his  own  thoughts,  "  At  least  they  will  see  what  we  are  capa- 
ble of,  and  henceforth,  I  hope,  they  will  leave  us  alone." 
He  then  passed  on  into  the  drawing-room,  where  he  talked 
for  a  long  time  in  a  low  voice  with  his  wife,  looking  at  me 
now  and  then,  but  without  any  anger  in  his  glance.  I  sat 
apart  from  all,  downcast  and  ill,  without  either  the  power  or 
the  wish  to  utter  a  word. 

Presently  Joseph  Bonaparte  and  M.  and  Mme.  Bacciochi  * 
arrived,  accompanied  by  M.  de  Fontanes.f  Lucien  was  on 
bad  terms  with  his  brother,  who  had  objected  to  his  marriage 
with  Mme.  Jouberthon,  and  came  no  more  to  the  palace ; 
indeed,  he  was  then  making  ready  to  leave  France.  During 
the  evening,  Murat,  Dubois,  who  was  Prefect  of  Police,  the 
members  of  the  Council  of  the  State,  and  others  arrived, 
all  with  composed  faces.  The  conversation  was  at  first  tri- 
fling and  awkward  :  the  women  sitting  silent,  the  men  stand- 
ing in  a  semicircle,  Bonaparte  walking  about  from  one  side 
of  the  room  to  the  other.  Presently  he  began  a  discussion, 
half  literary,  half  historical,  with  !M.  de  Fontanes.  The  men- 
tion of  certain  names  which  belong  to  history  gave  him  an 
opportunity  of  bringing  out  his  opinion  of  some  of  our 
kings  and  great  military  commanders.  I  remarked  on  this 
evening  that  he  dwelt  on  dethronements  of  every  kind,  both 
actual  and  such  as  are  effected  by  a  change  of  mind.  He  lauded 
Charlemagne,  but  maintained  that  France  had  always  been 
en  decadence  under  the  Yalois.  He  depreciated  the  great- 
ness of  Henry  IY.  "  He  was  wanting,"  said  he,  "  in  gravi- 
ty. Good  nature  is  an  affectation  which  a  sovereign  ought 
to  avoid.  What  does  he  want  ?  Is  it  to  remind  those  who 
surround  him  that  he  is  a  man  like  any  other  ?  What  non- 
sense !  So  soon  as  a  man  is  a  king  he  is  apart  from  all,  and 
I  have  always  held  that  the  instinct  of  true  policy  was  in 

*  M.  Bacciochi  was  then  a  colonel  of  dragoons,  and  had  nothing  whatever  to 
do  with  politics.  He  had  a  passion  for  the  violin,  and  played  all  day. 

f  M.  de  Fontanes  was  appointed  President  of  the  Corps  Legislatif  at  this 
time,  and  afterward  perpetual  President. 


THE  FIRST  CONSUL'S  REMARKABLE  WORDS.     135 

Alexander's  idea  of  making  himself  out  to  be  the  descendant 
of  a  god."  He  added  that  Louis  XIY.  knew  the  French  bet- 
ter than  Henry  IY. ;  but  he  hastened  to  add  that  Louis  had 
allowed  "  priests  and  an  old  woman "  to  get  the  better  of 
him,  and  he  made  some  coarse  remarks  on  that  point.  Then 
he  held  forth  on  Louis  XIY.'s  generals,  and  on  military 
science  in  general. 

"Military  science,"  said  Bonaparte,  "consists  in  calcu- 
lating all  the  chances  accurately  in  the  first  place,  and  then 
in  giving  accident  exactly,  almost  mathematically,  its  place 
in  one's  calculations.  It  is  upon  this  point  that  one  must 
not  deceive  one's  self,  and  that  a  decimal  more  or  less  may 
change  all.  Now,  this  apportioning  of  accident  and  science 
can  not  get  into  any  head  except  that  of  a  genius,  for  genius 
must  exist  wherever  there  is  a  creation ;  and  assuredly  the 
grandest  improvisation  of  the  human  mind  is  the  gift  of  an 
existence  to  that  which  has  it  not.  Accident,  hazard,  chance, 
whatever  you  choose  to  call  it,  a  mystery  to  ordinary  minds, 
becomes  a  reality  to  superior  men.  Turenne  did  not  think 
about  it,  and  so  he  had  nothing  but  method.  I  think,"  he 
added  with  a  smile,  "  I  should  have  beaten  him.  Conde  had 
a  better  notion  of  it  than  Turenne,  but  then  he  gave  himself 
up  to  it  with  impetuosity.  Prince  Eugene  is  one  of  those 
who  understood  it  best.  Henry  IY.  always  put  bravery  in 
the  place  of  everything  ;  he  only  fought  actions — he  would 
not  have  come  well  out  of  a  pitched  battle.  Catinat  has 
been  cried  up  chiefly  from  the  democratic  point  of  view ;  I 
have,  for  my  own  part,  carried  off  a  victory  on  the  spot  where 
he  was  beaten.  The  philosophers  have  worked  up  his  repu- 
tation after  their  own  fancy,  and  that  was  all  the  easier  to 
do,  because  one  may  say  anything  one  likes  about  ordinary 
people  who  have  been  lifted  into  eminence  by  circumstances 
not  of  their  own  creating.  A  man,  to  be  really  great,  no 
matter  in  what  order  of  greatness,  must  have  actually  im- 
provised a  portion  of  his  own  glory — must  have  shown  him- 
self superior  to  the  event  which  he  has  brought  about.  For 


136  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE 

instance,  Csesar  acted  now  and  then  with  weakness,  which 
makes  me  suspect  the  praises  that  are  lavished  on  him  in 
history. 

"  I  am  rather  doubtful  of  your  friends  the  historians,  M. 
de  Fontanes.  Even  your  Tacitus  himself  explains  nothing ; 
he  arrives  at  certain  results  without  indicating  the  routes  that 
have  been  followed.  He  is,  I  think,  able  as  a  writer,  but 
hardly  so  as  a  statesman.  He  depicts  Nero  as  an  execrable 
tyrant,  and  then  he  tells  us,  almost  in  the  same  page  with  a 
description  of  the  pleasure  he  felt  in  burning  down  Rome, 
that  the  people  loved  him.  All  that  is  not  plain  and  clear. 
Believe  me,  we  are  sometimes  the  dupes  of  our  beliefs — of 
writers  who  have  fabricated  history  for  us  in  accordance 
with  the  natural  bent  of  their  own  minds.  But  do  you  know 
whose  history  I  should  like  to  read,  if  it  were  well  written  ? 
That  of  King  Frederick  II.  of  Prussia.  I  hold  him  to  be 
one  of  those  who  has  best  understood  his  business  in  every 
sort  of  way.  These  ladies  " — here  he  turned  to  us — "  will 
not  be  of  my  opinion ;  they  will  say  that  he  was  harsh  and 
selfish.  But,  after  all,  is  a  great  statesman  made  for  feeling  ? 
Is  he  not  a  completely  eccentric  personage,  who  stands  al- 
ways alone,  on  his  own  side,  with  the  world  on  the  other  ? 
The  glass  through  which  he  looks  is  that  of  his  policy ;  his 
sole  concern  ought  to  be  that  it  should  neither  magnify  nor 
diminish.  And,  while  he  observes  objects  with  attention,  he 
must  also  be  careful  to  hold  the  reins  equally ;  for  the  chariot 
which  he  drives  is  often  drawn  by  ill-matched  horses.  How, 
then,  is  he  to  occupy  himself  with  those  fine  distinctions  of 
feelings  which  are  important  to  the  generality  of  mankind  ? 
Can  he  consider  the  affections,  the  ties  of  kinship,  the  puerile 
arrangements  of  society?  In  such  a  position  as  his,  how 
many  actions  are  regarded  separately,  and  condemned,  al- 
though they  are  to  contribute  as  a  whole  to  that  great  work 
which  the  public  does  not  discern  ?  One  day,  those  deeds 
will  terminate  the  creation  of  the  Colossus  which  will  be  the 
wonder  of  posterity.  And  you,  mistaken  as  you  are — you 


THE  FIRST  CONSUL'S  REMARKABLE   WORDS.     137 

will  withhold  your  praises,  because  you  are  afraid  lest  the 
movement  of  that  great  machine  should  crush  you,  as  Gulli- 
ver crushed  the  Lilliputians  when  he  moved  his  legs.  Be 
advised  ;  go  on  in  advance  of  the  time,  enlarge  your  imagina- 
tion, look  out  afar,  and  you  will  see  that  those  great  person- 
ages whom  you  think  violent  and  cruel  are  only  politic. 
They  know  themselves  better,  they  judge  themselves  more 
correctly  than  you  do ;  and,  when  they  are  really  able  men, 
they  know  how  to  master  their  passions,  for  they  even  calcu- 
late the  effects  of  them." 

From  this,  which  was  a  kind  of  manifesto,  the  opinions 
of  Bonaparte  may  be  gathered,  and  also  a  notion  of  the  rapid 
succession  in  which  his  ideas  followed  each  other  when  he 
allowed  himself  to  talk.  It  sometimes  happened  that  his 
discourse  would  be  less  consecutive,  for  he  put  up  well 
enough  with  interruptions  ;  but  on  the  day  in  question  every 
one  seemed  to  be  benumbed  in  his  presence ;  no  one  ven- 
tured to  take  up  certain  applications  of  his  words,  which  it 
was  evident  he  intended.  He  had  never  ceased  walking  to 
and  fro  while  he  was  talking,  and  this  for  more  than  an  hour. 
Many  other  things  which  he  said  have  escaped  my  memory. 
At  length,  abruptly  breaking  off  the  chain  of  his  ideas,  he 
directed  M.  de  Fontanes  to  read  aloud  certain  extracts  from 
Drake's  correspondence,  which  I  have  already  mentioned,  all 
relating  to  the  conspiracy.  When  the  reading  of  the  extracts 
was  concluded,  "  There  are  proofs  here,"  said  he,  "  that  can 
not  be  disputed.  These  people  wanted  to  throw  France  into 
confusion,  and  to  destroy  the  Revolution  by  destroying  me ; 
it  was  my  duty  both  to  defend  and  to  avenge  the  Revolution. 
I  have  proved  of  what  it  is  capable.  The  Due  d'Enghien 
was  a  conspirator  like  any  other,  and  he  had  to  be  treated  as 
such.  The  whole  affair,  moreover,  was  arranged  without 
caution  or  accurate  knowledge  of  the  ground,  on  the  faith  of 
some  obscure  correspondence ;  a  few  credulous  old  women 
wrote  letters,  and  were  believed.  The  Bourbons  will  never 
see  anything  except  through  the  CEU-de-Bceuf,  and  they  are 


138  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R&MUSAT. 

fated  to  be  perpetually  deluded.  The  Polignacs  made  sure 
that  every  house  in  Paris  would  he  open  to  them ;  and,  when 
they  arrived  here,  not  a  single  noble  would  receive  them. 
If  all  these  fools  were  to  kill  me,  they  would  not  get  their 
own  way ;  they  would  only  put  angry  Jacobins  in  my  place. 
The  day  of  etiquette  is  over,  but  the  Bourbons  can  not  give 
it  up.  If  ever  you  see  them  return,  mark  my  words  that  it 
will  be  the  first  subject  that  will  occupy  their  minds.  Ah  ! 
it  would  have  been  another  story  could  they  have  been  seen, 
like  Henry  IY.,  covered  with  dust  and  blood  on  a  battle- 
field. A  kingdom  is  not  got  back  by  dating  a  letter  from 
London,  and  signing  it  *  Louis.'  Nevertheless,  such  a  letter 
compromises  imprudent  people,  and  I  am  obliged  to  punish 
them,  although  I  feel  a  sort  of  pity  for  them.  I  have  shed 
blood ;  it  was  necessary  to  do  so.  I  may  have  to  shed  more, 
but  not  out  of  anger — simply  because  blood-letting  is  one  of 
the  remedies  in  political  medicine.  I  am  the  man  of  the 
State ;  I  am  the  French  Kevolution.  I  say  it,  and  I  will  up- 
hold it." 

After  this  last  declaration,  Bonaparte  dismissed  us  all. 
We  dispersed  without  daring  to  interchange  our  ideas,  and 
thus  ended  this  fatal  day.* 

*  The  murder  of  the  Due  d'Enghien  is  an  inexhaustible  subject  of  contro- 
versy between  the  opponents  of  the  Empire  and  the  supporters  of  Napoleon. 
In  the  most  recent  and  important  works  of  historians  and  memoir-writers,  there 
is  nothing  to  contradict  the  above  narrative,  which  possesses,  moreover,  every 
mark  of  sincerity  and  truthfulness.  The  First  Consul  originated  and  ordered 
the  crime  ;  Savary  and  the  military  commission  executed  it ;  M.  de  Caulaincourt 
was  the  unconscious  medium.  A  full  account  of  the  trial  may  be  found  in  a 
work  entitled  "  Le  Due  d'Enghien  d'apres  les  Documents  Historiques,"  par  L. 
Constant,  8vo,  Paris,  1869.  The  following  extract  from  Chateaubriand's  "Me- 
moires  d'Outre-tombe  "  will,  I  think,  be  of  interest  at  this  point,  although  the 
work  does  not  rank  among  the  best  productions  of  its  author,  and  can  not  be 
absolutely  relied  on.  Nevertheless,  M.  de  Chateaubriand's  resignation  of  his 
post  on  the  day  following  the  crime  is  justly  held  honorable  to  him.  "  A  coun- 
cil was  held  on  the  proposed  arrest  of  the  Due  d'Enghien.  Cambaceres,  in  his 
unpublished  Memoirs,  asserts — and  I  believe  him — that  he  opposed  the  arrest ; 
but,  although  he  records  his  own  words,  he  does  not  say  what  replies  they  eli- 
cited. The  *  M6morial  de  Ste.  H61ene '  denies,  however,  that  Bonaparte  had  to 


THE  FIRST  CONSUL'S  REMARKABLE  WORDS.    139 

refuse  any  entreaties  for  clemency.  The  imaginary  scene  in  which  Josephine 
begs  on  her  knees  for  the  life  of  the  Due  d'Enghien,  and,  clinging  to  the  coat  of 
Napoleon,  is  dragged  along  the  ground  by  her  inexorable  husband,  is  one  of 
those  melodramatic  inventions  with  which  the  fiction-writers  of  the  present  day 
compose  their  veracious  histories.  On  the  evening  of  March  19th  Josephine 
was  in  ignorance  that  the  Due  d'Enghien  was  to  be  tried  ;  she  only  knew  that 
he  had  been  arrested.  She  had  promised  Mme.  de  Re'musat  to  interest  herself 
in  his  fate.  ...  On  March  21st,  Bonaparte  said  to  his  wife,  *  The  Due  d'En- 
ghien has  been  shot.'  The  Memoirs  of  Mme.  de  Remusat,  with  whom  I  was 
acquainted,  were  full  of  exceedingly  curious  details  of  the  private  life  of  the 
Imperial  Court.  Their  author  burned  them  during  the  Hundred  Days,  but  after- 
ward rewrote  them.  They  are  now  but  recollections  of  former  recollections ; 
the  colors  are  faded ;  but  Bonaparte  is  always  clearly  depicted  and  impartially 
judged."-?.  B. 


CHAPTER  VI. 

(1804.) 

The  Impression  produced  in  Paris  "by  the  Death  of  the  Due  d'Enghien— The  First 
Consul's  Efforts  to  dispel  itn-Performance  at  the  Opera  House— Death  of  Piche- 
gru— Breach  between  Bonaparte  and  his  Brother  Lucien— Project  of  adopting 
the  young  Napoleon — Foundation  of  the  Empire. 

THE  First  Consul  spared  no  pains  to  allay  the  excitement 
which  was  caused  by  this  event.  He  perceived  that  his  con- 
duct had  raised  the  question  of  his  real  character,  and  he  set 
himself  to  prove,  both  by  his  speeches  in  the  Council  of 
State,  and  also  to  all  of  us,  that  political  considerations  only, 
and  not  passion  of  any  kind,  had  led  to  the  death  of  the  Due 
d'Enghien.  As  I  said  before,  he  made  no  attempt  to  check 
the  genuine  indignation  evinced  by  M.  de  Caulaincourt,  and 
toward  me  he  displayed  indulgence  which  once  more  unset- 
tled my  opinions.  How  strong  a  power  of  persuasion  do 
sovereigns,  whatever  their  character,  exercise  over  us !  Our 
feelings,  and,  to  be  frank,  our  vanity  also,  run  to  meet  their 
slightest  advances  half-way.  I  grieved,  but  I  felt  myself  be- 
ing slowly  won  over  by  the  adroitness  of  Bonaparte ;  and  I 
cried 

"Pint  £  Dieu  ce  fat  le  dernier  de  ses  crimes !  " 

Meanwhile  we  returned  to  Paris,  and  then  my  feelings 
were  again  painfully  excited  by  the  state  of  opinion  there. 
I  could  make  no  reply  to  what  was  said.  I  could  only  try  to 
persuade  those  who  believed  that  this  fatal  act  was  but  the 
beginning  of  a  blood-stained  reign,  that  they  were  mistaken ; 
and  although  it  would  be  difficult,  in  point  of  fact,  to  ex- 


EXCITEMENT  IN  PARIS. 

aggerate  the  impression  that  such  a  crime  must  produce,  still 
party  spirit  ran  so  high  that,  although  my  own  feelings  re- 
volted against  it,  I  sometimes  found  myself  endeavoring  to 
offer  some  sort  of  excuse  for  it — uselessly  enough,  since  I  was 
addressing  myself  to  people  whose  convictions  were  unalter- 
able. 

I  had  a  warm  discussion  with  Mme.  de ,  a  cousin  of 

Mme.  Bonaparte's.  She  was  one  of  those  persons  who  did 
not  attend  the  evening  receptions  at  the  Tuileries,  but  who, 
having  divided  the  palace  into  two  separate  regions,  con- 
sidered that  they  might  appear  in  Mme.  Bonaparte's  apart- 
ment on  the  ground  floor  in  the  morning,  without  departing 
from  their  principles  or  sullying  their  reminiscences  by  re- 
cognition of  the  actual  government  on  the  first  floor. 

She  was  a  clever,  animated  woman,  with  rather  high- 
flown  notions.  Mme.  Bonaparte  was  frightened  by  her 
vehement  indignation ;  and,  finding  me  with  her  one  day, 
she  attacked  me  with  equal  vigor,  and  compassionated  both 
of  us  for  being,  as  she  said,  bound  in  chains  to  a  tyrant.  She 
went  so  far  that  I  tried  to  make  her  understand  the  distress 
she  was  inflicting  on  her  cousin.  Then  she  turned  violently 
upon  me,  and  accused  me  of  not  sufficiently  appreciating  the 
horror  of  the  event  that  had  just  taken  place.  "  As  for  me," 
she  said,  "  every  sense  and  every  feeling  is  so  outraged  that, 
if  your  Consul  were  to  come  into  this  room,  you  would  see 
me  fly  on  the  instant,  as  one  flies  from  a  venomous  beast." 
"  Ah,  madame,"  I  answered  (little  thinking  that  my  words 
would  prove  prophetic),  "  refrain  from  expressions  which  at 
some  future  day  may  prove  embarrassing  to  you.  Weep 
with  us,  but  reflect  that  the  recollection  of  words  uttered  in 
a  moment  of  excitement  often  complicates  one's  subsequent 
actions.  To-day  you  are  angry  with  me  for  my  apparent 
moderation ;  yet,  perhaps,  my  feelings  will  las,t  longer  than 

yours."     And,  in  fact,  a  few  months  later,  Mme.  de  

became  lady-in-waiting  to  her  cousin,  the  newly  made  Em- 
press. 


142  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  LE 

Hume  says  somewhere  that  Cromwell,  having  established 
a  sort  of  phantom  of  royalty,  very  soon  found  himself  sur- 
rounded by  that  particular  class  of  nobles  who  conceive  them- 
selves called  on  to  live  in  palaces  so  soon  as  their  doors  are 
reopened.  The  First  Consul,  on  assuming  the  insignia  of 
the  power  he  already  wielded,  offered  a  salve  to  the  con- 
science of  the  old  nobility  which  vanity  always  readily  ap- 
plies ;  for  who  can  resist  the  temptation  of  recovering  the 
rank  he  feels  himself  made  to  adorn  ?  I  am  about  to  draw 
a  very  homely  comparison,  but  I  believe  a  true  one.  In  the 
nature  of  the  grand  seigneur  there  is  something  of  the  char- 
acter of  the  cat,  which  remains  faithful  to  the  same  house, 
no  matter  who  may  become  the  proprietor  of  it. 

Bonaparte,  stained  with  the  blood  of  the  Due  d'Enghien, 
but  having  become  an  Emperor,  succeeded  in  obtaining  from 
the  French  nobles  that  for  which  he  would  have  vainly 
sought  so  long  as  he  was  only  First  Consul ;  and  when,  in 
later  days,  he  maintained  to  one  of  his  ministers  that  this 
murder  was  indeed  a  crime,  but  not  a  blunder — "  for,"  he 
added,  "the  consequences  that  I  foresaw  have  all  exactly 
happened  " — he  was,  in  that  sense,  right. 

And  yet,  if  we  look  at  things  from  a  higher  standpoint, 
the  consequences  of  this  act  of  his  reached  further  than  he 
thought  for.  He  succeeded,  doubtless,  in  moderating  certain 
opinions,  for  there  are  numbers  of  people  who  give  up  feel- 
ing when  there  is  nothing  to  hope ;  but,  as  M.  de  Remusat 
said,  the  odium  which  the  crime  cast  upon  him  obliged  him 
to  divert  our  thoughts  from  it  by  a  succession  of  extraordi- 
nary feats,  which  would  impose  silence  respecting  the  past. 
Moreover,  he  bound  himself,  as  it  were,  to  be  always  success- 
ful, for  by  success  alone  could  he  be  justified.  If  we  con- 
template the  tortuous  and  difficult  path  he  was  henceforth 
obliged  to  tread,  we  shall  conclude  that  a  noble  and  pure 
policy,  based  upon  the  prosperity  of  the  human  race  and  the 
free  exercise  of  its  rights,  would  have  been  then,  as  it  is 
always,  the  best  on  which  a  sovereign  can  act. 


PERFORMANCE  AT  THE  OPERA  HOUSE.         143 

By  the  death  of  the  Due  d'Enghien,  Bonaparte  succeeded 
in  compromising,  first  ourselves,  then  the  French  nobility, 
finally  the  whole  nation  and  all  Europe.  Our  fate  was 
united  with  his,  it  is  true — this  was  a  great  point  for  him ; 
but,  when  he  dishonored  us,  he  lost  the  right  to  that  devotion 
and  adherence  which  he  claimed  in  vain  when  the  hour  of 
his  ill  fortune  came.  How  could  he  reckon  on  a  link  forged, 
it  must  be  owned,  at  the  cost  of  the  noblest  feelings  of  the 
soul?  Alas!  I  judge  by  my  own  case.  From  that  time 
forward  I  began  to  blush  in  secret  at  the  chain  I  wore; 
and  this  hidden  feeling,  which  I  stifled  at  different  times 
with  more  or  less  success,  afterward  became  the  general  sen- 
timent. 

On  his  return  to  Paris,  the  First  Consul  was  struck  by 
the  effect  he  had  produced.  He  perceived  that  feelings  go 
more  slowly  than  opinions,  and  that  men's  countenances 
wore  a  new  expression  in  his  presence.  Weary  of  a  remem- 
brance that  he  would  have  liked  to  render  a  bygone  from  the 
very  first,  he  thought  the  best  plan  was  to  let  the  people 
wear  out  their  emotions  as  quickly  as  possible ;  and  so  he 
determined  to  appear  in  public,  although  certain  persons  ad- 
vised him  to  defer  doing  so  for  a  while.  "  But  we  must,  at 
any  cost,"  he  answered,  "  throw  that  event  into  the  past ;  and 
it  will  remain  new  so  long  as  anything  fresh  is  to  be  felt 
about  it.  If  we  change  nothing  in  our  habits,  the  public 
will  soon  regard  the  occurrence  as  an  old  affair."  It  was 
therefore  arranged  that  he  should  go  to  the  opera. 

On  that  evening  I  was  in  attendance  on  Mme.  Bonaparte ; 
her  carriage  followed  her  husband's.  His  usual  custom  was 
not  to  wait  for  her,  but  to  pass  rapidly  up  the  staircase 
and  show  himself  in  his  box ;  on  this  occasion,  however,  he 
waited  in  the  little  ante-room  adjoining  it  until  Mme.  Bona- 
parte arrived.  She  was  trembling  very  much,  and  he  was 
excessively  pale ;  he  looked  round  at  us  all,  as  if  mutely  ask- 
ing us  how  we  thought  he  would  be  received ;  and  then  he 

went  forward  at  last  like  a  man  marching  up  to  a  battery. 
13 


MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R&MUSAT. 

He  was  greeted  in  the  usual  way,  either  because  the  sight  of 
him  produced  its  customary  effect — for  the  multitude  do  not 
change  their  habits  in  a  moment — or  because  the  police  had 
taken  measures  of  precaution  beforehand.  I  had  greatly 
feared  he  would 'not  be  applauded,  and  yet,  when  I  saw  that 
he  was,  my  heart  sank  within  me. 

He  remained  only  a  few  days  in  Paris ;  thence  he  removed 
to  Saint  Cloud,  and  I  believe  from  that  time  forth  he  began 
to  carry  his  projects  of  sovereignty  into  execution.  He  felt 
the  necessity  of  imposing  an  authority  which  could  no  longer 
be  contested  upon  Europe,  and,  at  the  very  moment  when  he 
had  just  broken  with  all  parties  by  deeds  which  he  himself 
regarded  as  merely  acts  of  vigor,  he  thought  it  well  to  reveal 
the  goal  toward  which  he  had  been  advancing  with  more  or 
less  precaution.  He  began  by  obtaining  from  the  Corps 
Legislatif ,  now  assembled,  a  levy  of  sixty  thousand  men ;  not 
that  he  wanted  them  for  the  war  with  England,  which  could 
only  be  carried  on  by  sea,  but  because  he  required  to  assume 
an  imposing  attitude  when  about  to  astonish  Europe  by  an 
altogether  novel  incident.  The  Code  of  Civil  Laws  had  just 
been  completed ;  this  was  an  important  work,  and  was  said 
to  be  worthy  of  general  approval.  The  halls  wherein  the 
three  great  bodies  of  the  State  assembled  rang  on  this  occa- 
sion with  the  praises  of  Bonaparte.  M.  Marcorelle,  a  deputy 
of  the  Corps  Legislatif,  moved,  amid  loud  acclamations,  on 
the  24th  of  March,  three  days  after  the  death  of  the  Due 
d'Enghien,  that  a  bust  of  the  First  Consul  should  be  placed 
in  the  Chamber  of  Deputies.  "  Let  us,"  he  said,  "  by  a  strik- 
ing mark  of  our  affection,  proclaim  to  Europe  that  he  who 
has  been  threatened  by  the  daggers  of  vile  assassins  is  the 
object  of  our  attachment  and  admiration." 

A  few  days  later,  Fourcroy,  a  member  of  the  Council  of 
State,  closed  the  session  in  the  name  of  the  Government.  He 
alluded  to  the  princes  of  the  house  of  Bourbon  as  "  members 
of  that  unnatural  family  which  would  have  drowned  France 
in  her  own  blood,  so  that  they  might  reign  over  her,"  and 


DEATH  OF  PICHEGRU.  145 

added  that  they  must  be  threatened  with  death  if  they  ven- 
tured to  pollute  French  territory  by  their  presence. 

Meanwhile,  preparations  for  the  great  trial  were  going 
on ;  every  day  more  Chouans  were  arrested,  either  in  Brit- 
tany or  in  Paris,  who  were  concerned  in  this  conspiracy, 
and  Georges  Cadoudal,  Pichegru,  and  Moreau  had  already 
been  examined  several  times.  The  two  first,  it  was  said, 
answered  with  firmness ;  Moreau  appeared  to  be  much  de- 
jected. No  clear  information  was  obtained  by  these  inter- 
rogatories. 

One  morning  General  Pichegru  was  found  strangled  in 
his  prison.  This  event  made  a  great  sensation.  It  was  un- 
hesitatingly attributed  to  the  need  of  getting  rid  of  a  formid- 
able enemy.  Pichegru's  determination  of  character  would,  it 
was  said,  have  led  him,  when  the  proceeding  became  public, 
to  utter  strong  language,  which  would  have  had  an  undesir- 
able effect.  He  would,  perhaps,  have  created  a  party  in  his 
favor;  he  would  have  cleared  Moreau,  whose  guilt  it  was 
already  so  difficult  to  prove.  On  the  other  hand,  the  parti- 
sans of  Bonaparte  said :  "  Nobody  can  doubt  that  Pichegru 
came  to  Paris  in  order  to  get  up  an  insurrection.  He  him- 
self does  not  deny  it.  His  own  avowals  would  have  con- 
vinced the  most  incredulous ;  Ms  absence  will  prevent  that 
full  light,  which  is  so  desirable,  from  being  thrown  on  the 
proceedings." 

Many  years  afterward  I  asked  M.  de  Talleyrand  one  day 
what  he  thought  of  the  death  of  Pichegru.  "  I  think,"  said 
he,  "that  it  happened  very  suddenly  and  in  the  nick  of 
time ! "  But  just  then  M.  de  Talleyrand  had  fallen  out  with 
Bonaparte,  and  took  every  opportunity  of  bringing  accusa- 
tions against  him ;  I  therefore  by  no  means  commit  myself 
to  any  statement  respecting  this  event.  The  subject  was  not 
spoken  of  at  Saint  Cloud,  and  every  one  refrained  from  the 
slightest  reflection  on  it. 

About  this  time  Lucien  Bonaparte  left  France,  having 
quarreled  irrevocably  with  his  brother.  His  marriage  with 


146  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE 

Mme.  Jouberthon,  which  Bonaparte  had  been  unable  to  pre- 
vent, was  the  cause  of  the  rupture.  The  Consul,  full  of  his 
great  projects,  made  a  last  attempt  to  induce  him  to  renounce 
this  marriage ;  but  it  was  in  vain  that  Lucien  was  apprised 
of  the  approaching  grandeur  of  his  family,  in  vain  that  a 
marriage  with  the  Queen  of  Etruria*  was  proposed  to 
him.  "Love  was  the  strongest,"  and  he  refused  every- 
thing. A  violent  scene  ensued,  and  Lucien  was  exiled  from 
France. 

On  this  occasion  I  happened  to  see  the  First  Consul  give 
way  to  one  of  those  rare  bursts  of  emotion  of  which  I  have 
before  spoken.  It  was  at  Saint  Cloud,  rather  late  one  even- 
ing. Mme.  Bonaparte  was  anxiously  waiting  the  result  of 
this  final  conference  between  the  two  brothers ;  M.  de  R6- 
musat  and  I  were  the  only  persons  with  her.  She  did  not 
care  for  Lucien,  but  she  deprecated  any  family  scandal.  It 
was  near  midnight  when  Bonaparte  came  into  the  room ;  he 
was  deeply  dejected,  and,  throwing  himself  into  an  arm-chair, 
he  exclaimed,  in  a  troubled  voice,  "  It  is  all  over !  I  have 
broken  with  Lucien,  and  ordered  him  from  my  presence." 
Mme.  Bonaparte  began  to  expostulate.  "You  are  a  good 
woman,"  he  said,  "  to  plead  for  him."  Then  he  rose  from 
his  chair,  took  his  wife  in  his  arms,  and  laid  her  head  softly 
on  his  shoulder,  and  with  his  hand  still  resting  on  the  beau- 
tiful head  which  formed  a  contrast  to  the  sad,  set  counte- 
nance so  near  it,  he  told  us  that  Lucien  had  resisted  all  his 
entreaties,  and  that  he  had  resorted  equally  in  vain  to  both 
threats  and  persuasion.  "  It  is  hard,  though,"  he  added,  "  to 
find  in  one's  own  family  such  stubborn  opposition  to  inter- 
ests of  such  magnitude.  Must  I,  then,  isolate  myself  from 
every  one?  Must  I  rely  on  myself  alone?  Well!  I  will 

*  After  the  treaty  of  LunSville,  in  1801,  Tuscany  had  been  erected  into  the 
kingdom  of  Etruria  and  given  to  the  son  of  the  Duke  of  Parma.  The  King 
having  died  in  1803,  his  widow,  Marie  Louise,  a  daughter  of  Charles  IV.,  King 
of  Spain,  succeeded  him,  and  reigned  until  1807,  at  which  period  the  little 
kingdom  was  incorporated  with  the  Empire,  to  be  again  dismembered  in  1809 
in  favor  of  Mme.  Bacciochi,  who  took  the  title  of  Grand  Duchess  of  Tuscany. 


PROJECT  OF  ADOPTING   YOUNG  NAPOLEON.    147 

suffice  to  myself,  and  you,  Josephine — you  will  be  my  com- 
fort always." 

I  retain  a  pleasurable  recollection  of  this  little  scene. 
Tears  were  in  Bonaparte's  eyes  as  he  spoke.  I  felt  inclined 
to  thank  him  when  he  betrayed  feelings  like  those  of  other 
men.  Shortly  after  this,  his  brother  Louis  crossed  his  wishes 
in  another  way,  and  this  incident  had  probably  a  great  influ- 
ence on  the  fate  of  Mme.  Bonaparte. 

The  Consul,  being  quite  resolved  to  raise  himself  to  the 
throne  of  France  and  to  found  a  dynasty,  had  occasionally 
glanced  at  the  question  of  a  divorce  already ;  but,  either  be- 
cause of  his  attachment  to  his  wife  being  still  too  strong,  or 
because  his  existing  relations  with  Europe  did  not  permit  him 
to  hope  for  an  alliance  which  would  strengthen  his  political 
position,  he  seemed  just  then  disinclined  to  break  with  Jo- 
sephine, and  disposed  to  adopt  the  young  Louis  Napoleon, 
who  was  his  own  nephew  and  also  Josephine's  grandson. 

He  no  sooner  allowed  this  project  to  be  discerned  than 
his  family  rebelled.  Joseph  Bonaparte  ventured  to  repre- 
sent to  him  that  he  had  done  nothing  to  forfeit  the  right  to 
the  crown  which,  as  eldest  brother,  he  would  acquire,  and 
he  defended  that  right  as  if  it  had  really  existed  of  old. 

Bonaparte,  who  was  always  irritated  by  opposition,  grew 
very  angry,  and  only  the  more  determined.  He  confided  his 
intentions  to  his  wife,  who  was  overjoyed,  and  spoke  to  me 
as  though  the  realization  of  this  project  would  bring  her  own 
anxieties  to  an  end.  Mme.  Louis  assented,  but  without  dis- 
playing any  gratification.  She  was  not  at  all  ambitious,  and, 
in  fact,  could  not  help  fearing  that  such  an  elevation  would 
bring  down  misfortune  on  the  head  of  her  son. 

One  day,  when  Bonaparte  was  surrounded  by  his  family, 
he  placed  the  little  Napoleon  between  his  knees,  and  said, 
while  playing  with  him,  "  Do  you  know,  my  little  fellow, 
that  you  run  the  risk  of  being  a  king  some  day  ? "  "  And 
Achille?"*  immediately  asked  Murat,  who  was  present. 
*  Achille  was  the  eldest  son  of  Murat. 


14:8  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  K&MUSAT. 

"  Oh,  Achille,"  answered  Bonaparte,  "  will  be  a  great  sol- 
dier." This  reply  incensed  Mme.  Murat;  but  Bonaparte, 
pretending  not  to  notice  her,  and  stung  by  his  brother's 
opposition,  which  he  believed  with  reason  to  have  been 
prompted  by  Mme.  Murat,  went  on  to  say  to  his  little  step- 
grandson,  "  And  mind,  my  poor  child,  I  advise  you,  if  you 
value  your  life,  not  to  accept  invitations  to  dine  with  your 
cousins." 

We  may  imagine  to  what  feelings  such  bitter  words 
would  give  rise.  From  that  moment  Louis  Bonaparte  was 
beset  by  his  family,  who  adroitly  reminded  him  of  the  ru- 
mors respecting  his  wife,  and  that  he  ought  not  to  sacrifice 
the  interests  of  his  own  kinsfolk  to  those  of  a  child  who  was 
at  least  half  a  Beauharnais ;  and,  as  Louis  Bonaparte  was  not 
quite  so  destitute  of  ambition  as  people  have  since  made  him 
out,  he,  like  Joseph,  went  to  the  First  Consul  to  ask  why 
the  sacrifice  of  his  own  rights  should  be  demanded  of  him. 
"  Why;"  said  he,  "  should  I  yield  my  share  of  inheritance  to 
my  son  ?  How  have  I  deserved  to  be  cut  off  ?  What  will 
my  position  be  when  this  child,  having  become  yours,  finds 
himself  very  much  higher  placed  than  I,  and  quite  indepen- 
dent of  me,  standing  next  to  yourself,  and  regarding  me 
with  suspicion,  if  not  with  contempt  ?  ~No  ;  I  will  never 
consent  to  this ;  and,  rather  than  renounce  the  proper  course 
of  succession  to  the  royalty  which  is  to  be  yours,  rather  than 
consent  to  humble  myself  before  my  own  son,  I  will  leave 
France,  taking  Napoleon  with  me,  and  we  shall  see  whether 
you  will  dare  openly  to  take  a  child  from  his  father ! " 

The  First  Consul,  powerful  as  he  was,  found  it  impossi- 
ble to  overcome  his  brother's  opposition.  His  wrath  availed 
nothing,  and  he  was  obliged  to  yield,  for  fear  of  a  vexatious 
and  even  ridiculous  scandal ;  for  such  it  certainly  would  have 
been,  to  see  this  whole  family  quarreling  beforehand  over 
the  crown  which  France  had  not  yet  actually  conferred. 

The  strife  was  hushed  up,  and  Napoleon  was  obliged  to 
draw  up  the  scheme  of  succession,  and  the  possible  case  of 


PROJECT  OF  ADOPTING   YOUNG  NAPOLEON.    149 

adoption  which  he  reserved  to  himself  the  power  of  making, 
in  the  terms  to  be  found  in  the  decree  relating  to  the  eleva- 
tion of  the  First  Consul  to  the  Empire. 

These  quarrels  embittered  the  enmity  already  existing 
between  the  Bonapartes  and  the  Beauharnais.  The  former 
regarded  the  plan  of  adoption  as  the  result  of  Mme.  Bona-- 
parte's  scheming.  Louis  gave  stricter  orders  to  his  wife  than 
before  that  she  should  hold  no  familiar  intercourse  with  her 
mother.  "  If  you  consult  her  interests  at  the  cost  of  mine," 
he  told  her  harshly,  "I  swear  to  you  that  I  will  make  you 
repent.  I  will  separate  you  from  your  son ;  I  will  shut  you 
up  in  some  out-of-the-way  place,  and  no  power  on  earth  shall 
deliver  you.  You  shall  pay  for  your  concessions  to  your  own 
family  by  the  wretchedness  of  the  rest  of  your  life.  And 
take  care,  above  all,  that  none  of  my  threats  reach  the  ears 
of  my  brother.  Even  his  power  should  not  save  you  from 
my  anger." 

Mme.  Louis  bowed  her  head,  a  patient  victim  to  this  vio- 
lence. She  was  then  expecting  the  birth  of  her  second  child. 
Grief  and  anxiety  told  upon  her  health,  which  was  perma- 
nently injured ;  the  fresh  complexion,  her  only  beauty,  dis- 
appeared. She  had  possessed  natural  spirits,  but  they  now 
died  away  for  ever ;  and  she  became  silent  and  timid.  She 
refrained  from  confiding  her  troubles  to  her  mother,  whose 
indiscretion  and  hasty  temper  she  dreaded;  and  neither 
would  she  further  irritate  the  First  Consul.  He,  knowing 
well  his  brother's  character,  felt  grateful  to  her  for  her  reti- 
cence, and  guessed  at  the  sufferings  she  had  to  endure.  From 
that  time  forth  he  never  let  an  opportunity  pass  without  ex- 
hibiting the  interest — I  may  even  say  the  respect — with  which 
the  mild  and  prudent  demeanor  of  his  stepdaughter  inspired 
him. 

What  I  have  just  said  is  quite  opposed  to  the  general 
opinion  which  has  unfortunately  been  entertained  of  this 
unhappy  woman;  but  her  vindictive  sisters-in-law  never 
missed  an  opportunity  of  injuring  her  reputation  by  the 


150  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  RJ&MUSAT. 

most  odious  calumnies,  and,  as  she  bore  the  name  of  Bona- 
parte, the  public,  who,  when  they  came  to  hate  the  Imperial 
despotism,  included  every  one  belonging  to  the  family  in 
their  impartial  contempt,  readily  believed  every  calumny 
against  Mme.  Louis.  Her  husband  (whose  ill  treatment  rof 
her  irritated  him  all  the  more  against  her),  obliged  to  own 
that  she  could  not  love  him  after  the  tyranny  he  had  exer- 
cised, jealous  with  the  jealousy  of  pride,  and  naturally  suspi- 
cious, embittered  by  ill  health,  and  utterly  selfish,  made  her 
feel  the  full  weight  of  conjugal  despotism.  She  was  sur- 
rounded by  spies ;  her  letters  were  opened  before  they  reached 
her  hands ;  her  conversations  even  with  female  friends  were 
resented ;  and,  if  she  complained  of  this  insulting  severity, 
he  would  say  to  her,  "  You  can  not  love  me.  You  are  a 
woman — consequently  a  being  all  made  up  of  evil  and  deceit ; 
you  are  the  daughter  of  an  unprincipled  mother ;  you  belong 
to  a  family  that  I  loathe.  Are  not  these  reasons  enough  for 
me  to  suspect  you  ?  " 

Mme.  Louis,  from  whom  I  obtained  these  details  long 
afterward,  found  her  only  comfort  in  the  affection  of  her 
brother,  whose  conduct,  though  jealously  watched  by  the 
Bonapartes,  was  unassailable.  Eugene,  who  was  simple  and 
frank,  light-hearted,  and  open  in  all  his  dealings,  displaying 
no  ambition,  holding  himself  aloof  from  every  intrigue,  and 
doing  his  duty  wherever  he  was  placed,  disarmed  calumny 
before  it  could  reach  him,  and  knew  nothing  of  all  that  took 
place  in  the  palace.  His  sister  loved  him  passionately,  and 
confided  her  sorrows  to  him  only,  during  the  few  moments 
that  the  jealous  watchfulness  of  Louis  allowed  them  to  pass 
together. 

Meanwhile,  the  First  Consul,  having  complained  to  the 
Elector  of  Bavaria  of  the  correspondence  which  Mr.  Drake 
kept  up  in  France,  and  this  English  gentleman  entertaining 
some  apprehensions  as  to  his  own  safety,  as  did  also  Sir  Spen- 
cer Smith,  the  British  Envoy  at  the  Court  of  "Wiirtemberg, 
they  both  suddenly  disappeared.  Lord  Morpeth  asked  the 


FOUNDATION  OF  THE  EMPIRE. 

Government,  in  the  House  of  Commons,  for  an  explanation 
of  Drake's  conduct.  The  Chancellor  of  the  Exchequer  re- 
plied that  the  envoy  had  been  given  authority  for  his  pro- 
ceedings, and  that  a  fuller  explanation  should  be  afforded 
when  the  ambassador  had  furnished  the  information  that  had 
been  demanded  from  him. 

At  this  time  Bonaparte  held  long  and  frequent  consulta- 
tions with  M.  de  Talleyrand.  The  latter,  whose  opinions  were 
essentially  monarchical,  urged  the  Consul  to  change  his  title 
to  that  of  King.  He  has  since  owned  to  me  that  the  name 
of  Emperor  alarmed  him ;  it  conveyed  a  sense  of  vagueness 
and  immensity,  which  was  precisely  what  charmed  the  imagi- 
nation of  Bonaparte.  He  added,  "A  combination  of  the 
Roman  Republic  and  of  Charlemagne  in  the  title  turned  his 
head.  I  amused  myself  one  day  by  mystifying  Berthier.  I 
took  him  aside,  and  said  to  him,  '  You  know  of  the  great 
scheme  that  is  occupying  us.  Go  to  the  Consul,  and  urge 
him  to  take  the  title  of  King ;  it  will  please  him.'  Accord- 
ingly Berthier,  who  was  delighted  to  have  an  opportunity  of 
speaking  to  Bonaparte  on  an  agreeable  subject,  went  up  to 
him  at  the  other  end  of  the  room  in  which  we  were  all  as- 
sembled, and  I  drew  back  a  little,  foreseeing  the  storm.  Ber- 
thier began  his  little  speech,  but  at  the  word  'King'  Bona- 
parte's eyes  flashed  fire ;  he  seized  Berthier  by  the  throat, 
and  pushed  him  back  against  the  wall.  'You  idiot!'  he 
said ;  '  who  has  been  advising  you  to  come  here  and  excite 
my  anger  ?  Another  time,  don't  take  such  a  task  on  your- 
self.' Poor  Berthier,  in  dire  confusion,  looked  piteously  at 
me,  and  it  was  a  long  time  before  he  forgave  my  sorry  jest." 

At  last,  on  April  30,  1804,  the  tribune  Curee,  who  had 
no  doubt  learnt  his  part,  and  who,  later  on,  was  rewarded 
for  his  complaisance  by  being  created  a  senator,  made  what 
was  then  called  "  a  motion  of  order  "  in  the  Tribunate,  de- 
manding that  the  government  of  the  Republic  should  be  con- 
fided to  an  Emperor,  and  that  the  Empire  should  be  made 
hereditary  in  the  family  of  Napoleon  Bonaparte.  His  speech 


152  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  RtiMUSAT. 

was  effective.  He  regarded  an  hereditary  succession,  he 
said,  as  a  guarantee  against  plots  from  without,  and  that  in 
reality  the  title  of  Emperor  only  meant  "  Yictorious  Consul." 
Nearly  all  the  tribunes  put  down  their  names  to  speak.  A 
commission  of  thirteen  members  was  appointed.  Carnot 
alone  had  the  courage  to  protest  against  this  proposal.  He 
declared  that  he  would  vote  against  an  Empire,  for  the  same 
reason  that  he  had  voted  against  a  life  Consulship,  but  with- 
out any  personal  animosity,  and  that  he  was  quite  prepared 
to  render  obedience  to  the  Emperor  should  he  be  elected. 
He  spoke  in  high  praise  of  the  American  form  of  govern- 
ment, and  added  that  Bonaparte  might  have  adopted  it  at 
the  time  of  the  treaty  of  Amiens ;  that  the  abuses  of  despot- 
ism led  to  worse  results  than  the  abuses  of  liberty  ;  and  that, 
before  smoothing  the  way  to  this  despotism,  which  would  be 
all  the  more  dangerous  because  it  was  reared  on  military  suc- 
cess, it  would  have  been  advisable  to  create  institutions  for 
its  due  repression.  Notwithstanding  Carnot's  opposition,  the 
motion  was  put  to  the  vote  and  adopted. 

On  May  4th  a  deputation  from  the  Tribunate  carried  it 
to  the  Senate,  who  were  already  prepared  for  it.  The  Yice- 
President,  Frangois  de  Neufchateau,  replied  that  the  Senate 
had  expected  the  vote,  and  would  take  it  into  consideration. 
At  the  same  sitting  it  was  decided  that  the  motion  of  the 
Tribunate  and  the  answer  of  the  Yice-President  should  be 
laid  before  the  First  Consul. 

On  May  5th  the  Senate  sent  an  address  to  Bonaparte, 
asking  him,  without  further  explanation,  for  a  final  act 
which  would  insure  the  future  peace  of  France.  His  answer 
to  this  address  may  be  read  in  the  "Moniteur."  "I  beg 
you,"  he  said,  "to  let  me  know  your  entire  purpose.  I 
desire  that  we  may  be  able  to  say  to  the  French  nation  on 
the  14th  of  next  July,  'The  possessions  that  you  acquired 
fifteen  years  ago,  liberty,  equality,  and  glory,  are  now  be- 
yond the  reach  of  every  storm."  In  reply,  the  Senate  voted 
unanimously  for  imperial  government,  adding  that,  in  the 


FOUNDATION  OF  TEE  EMPIRE.  153 

interests  of  the  French  people,  it  was  important  that  it 
should  be  intrusted  to  Napoleon  Bonaparte. 

After  May  8th  addresses  from  the  towns  poured  in  at 
Saint  Cloud.  An  address  from  Lyons  came  first;  a  little 
later  came  those  from  Paris  and  other  places.  At  the  same 
time  came  the  vote  from  Klein's  division,*  and  then  one 
from  the  troops  in  camp  at  Montreuil  under  the  orders  of 
General  Ney ;  f  and  the  other  divisions  promptly  followed 
these  examples.  M.  de  Fontanes  addressed  the  First  Consul 
in  the  name  of  the  Corps  Le*gislatif,  which  at  this  moment 
was  not  sitting;  but  those  among  its  members  who  were 
then  in  Paris  met,  and  voted  as  the  Senate  had  done.  The 
excitement  that  these  events  caused  at  Saint  Cloud  may 
readily  be  imagined. 

I  have  already  recorded  the  disappointment  which  Louis 
Bonaparte's  rejection  of  the  project  of  adoption  had  inflicted 
on  his  mother-in-law.  She  still  hoped,  however,  that  the 
First  Consul  would  contrive,  if  he  himself  remained  in  the 
same  mind,  to  overcome  the  opposition  of  his  brother ;  and 
she  expressed  to  me  her  delight  that  her  husband's  new  pros- 
pects had  not  induced  him  to  reconsider  the  terrible  question 
of  the  divorce.  Whenever  Bonaparte  was  displeased  with 
his  brothers,  Mme.  Bonaparte  always  rose  in  his  estimation, 
because  he  found  consolation  in  the  unfailing  sweetness  of 
her  disposition.  She  never  tried  to  extract  from  him  any 
promise  either  for  herself  or  for  her  children ;  and  the  confi- 
dence she  showed  in  his  affection,  together  with  the  disin- 
terestedness of  Eugene,  when  contrasted  with  the  exactions 
of  the  Bonaparte  family,  could  not  fail  to  please  him.  Mme. 
Bacciochi  and  Murat,  who  were  in  great  anxiety  about  com- 
ing events,  endeavored  to  worm  out  of  M.  de  Talleyrand,  or 
out  of  Fouche*,  the  secret  projects  of  the  First  Consul,  so 
that  they  might  know  what  to  expect.  Their  perturbation 

*  General  Klein  afterward  married  the  daughter  of  the  Countess  d'Arberg,  a 
lady-in-waiting.     He  was  created  senator,  and  remained  a  peer  under  the  King, 
t  Afterward  Marshal  Ney. 


154  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R&MU8AT. 

was  beyond  their  power  to  conceal ;  and  it  was  with  some 
amusement  that  I  detected  it  in  their  troubled  glances  and 
in  every  word  they  let  fall. 

At  last  we  were  told,  one  evening,  that  on  the  following 
day  the  Senate  was  to  come  in  great  state  and  lay  before 
Bonaparte  the  decree  which  should  give  him  a  crown. 
When  I  recall  that  evening,  the  emotions  I  experienced  on 
hearing  the  news  return  to  me.  The  First  Consul,  when  in- 
forming his  wife  of  the  coming  event,  had  told  her  he  in- 
tended to  surround  himself  with  a  more  numerous  Court, 
but  that  he  would  fitly  distinguish  between  the  new-comers 
and  those  old  servants  who  had  first  devoted  themselves  to  his 
service.  He  particularly  desired  her  to  assure  M.  de  Re- 
musat  and  me  of  his  good  will  toward  us.  I  have  already 
told  how  he  bore  with  the  anguish  which  I  was  unable  to 
hide  on  the  occasion  of  the  death  of  the  Due  d'Enghien. 
His  indulgence  on  this  point  did  not  diminish ;  perhaps  it 
amused  him  to  pry  into  my  secret  feelings,  and  gradually  to 
appease  them  by  such  marked  kindness  that  it  revived  my 
flagging  attachment  to  him. 

I  could  not  as  yet  overcome  my  feelings  toward  him.  I 
grieved  over  his  great  fault ;  but  when  I  saw  that  he  was,  so 
to  speak,  a  better  man  than  formerly,  though  I  believed  he 
had  made  a  fatal  mistake,  I  felt  grateful  to  him  for  keeping 
his  word  and  being  gentle  and  kind  afterward,  as  he  had 
promised.  The  fact  is  that  at  this  period  he  could  not  afford 
to  dispense  with  anybody,  and  he  therefore  neglected  no 
means  of  success.  His  dexterous  behavior  toward  M.  de 
Caulaincourt  had  won  him  over  so  that  he  had  gradually  re- 
covered his  former  serenity  of  mind,  and  was  at  this  epoch 
one  of  the  confidants  of  the  First  Consul's  schemes.  Bona- 
parte, having  questioned  his  wife  as  to  what  each  person  at 
Court  had  said  at  the  time  of  the  prince's  death,  learned  from 
her  that  M.  de  Bemusat,  who  was  habitually  reticent  both 
from  inclination  and  from  prudence,  but  who  always  spoke 
the  truth  when  asked,  had  not  hesitated  to  own  his  indigna- 


FOUNDATION  OF  THE  EMPIRE.  155 

tion.  Being  apparently  resolved  that  nothing  should  irritate 
him,  he  broached  the  subject  to  M.  de  Remusat,  and,  having 
revealed  to  him  as  much  of  his  policy  as  he  thought  proper, 
succeeded  in  convincing  my  husband  that  he  had  really  be- 
lieved the  Duke's  death  indispensable  to  the  safety  of  France. 
My  husband,  when  repeating  this  conversation  to  me,  said, 
"  I  am  far  from  agreeing  with  him  that  this  deed  of  blood 
was  needed  to  establish  his  authority,  and  I  did  not  hesitate 
to  tell  him  so ;  but  I  own  that  it  is  a  relief  to  me  to  think 
that  he  did  not  commit  the  crime  out  of  revenge.  He  is 
evidently  distressed,  no  matter  what  he  may  say,  by  the  ef- 
fect it  has  produced ;  and  I  believe  he  will  never  again  seek 
to  strengthen  his  authority  by  such  terrible  means.  I  did 
not  neglect  to  point  out  to  him  that  in  an  age  like  ours,  and 
in  a  nation  like  ours,  it  is  playing  a  dangerous  game  to  rule 
by  terror  and  bloodshed ;  and  I  think  that  the  earnest  atten- 
tion with  which  he  listened  to  me  augurs  well  for  the  future." 

This  sincere  avowal  of  what  we  both  felt  shows  how  much 
need  we  had  of  hope.  Severe  judges  of  other  people  might 
blame  us,  no  doubt,  for  the  facility  with  which  we  again  de- 
ceived ourselves,  and  impute  our  credulity,  with  apparent 
justice,  to  our  own  position  in  the  Court.  Ah !  it  is  so  hard  to 
have  to  blush  in  secret  for  the  calling  one  has  chosen,  it  is  so 
pleasant  to  like  one's  self-imposed  duties,  it  is  so  natural  to 
paint  in  bright  colors  one's  own  and  one's  country's  future, 
that  it  is  only  after  a  long  struggle  the  conviction  of  a  truth 
which  must  shatter  one's  whole  life  is  admitted.  Such  a 
truth  did  come  home  to  us,  slowly,  but  with  a  strength  that 
could  not  be  gainsaid ;  and  we  paid  dearly  for  an  error  to 
which  all  well-disposed  persons  clung  as  long  as  possible. 

On  May  18, 1804,  the  Second  Consul,  Cambace*res,  Presi- 
dent of  the  Senate,  came  to  Saint  Cloud,  accompanied  by  all 
the  senators  and  escorted  by  a  large  body  of  troops.  He 
made  a  set  speech,  and  gave  to  Bonaparte  for  the  first  time 
the  title  of  "Your  Majesty."  Bonaparte  took  it  calmly,  just 
as  though  he  had  borne  it  all  his  life.  The  Senate  then  pro- 


156  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R^MUSAT. 

ceeded  to  the  apartment  of  Mme.  Bonaparte,  who  in  her  turn 
was  proclaimed  Empress.  She  replied  with  that  natural 
grace  which  always  raised  her  to  the  level  of  any  position, 
however  lofty,  in  which  she  might  be  placed. 

At  the  same  time,  the  Grand  Dignitaries,  as  they  were 
called,  were  created — Grand  Elector,  Joseph  Bonaparte; 
High  Constable,  Louis  Bonaparte  ;  Arch-Chancellor  of  the 
Empire,  Cambaceres ;  Arch-Treasurer,  Lebrun.  The  Minis- 
ters, Maret  (the  Secretary  of  State,  who  ranked  with  the 
Ministers),  the  Colonels-general  of  the  Guards,  Duroc  (the 
Governor  of  the  Palace),  and  the  aides-de-camp  took  the 
oaths;  and  the  next  day  the  officers  of  the  army,  among 
whom  was  Colonel  Eugene  Beauharnais,  were  presented  to 
the  Emperor  by  the  new  Constable. 

The  opposition  which  Bonaparte  had  encountered  in  his 
own  family,  to  his  intended  adoption  of  the  little  Louis,  in- 
duced him  to  postpone  that  project.  The  succession  was 
therefore  declared  to  belong  to  the  heirs  male  of  Napoleon 
Bonaparte,  and  failing  these,  to  the  sons  of  Joseph  and  of 
Louis,  who  were  created  Imperial  Princes.  The  organic 
senatus  consultum  declared  that  the  Emperor  might  adopt 
as  his  successor  any  one  of  his  nephews  whom  he  chose,  but 
not  until  the  selected  individual  had  reached  the  age  of 
eighteen,  and  that  no  further  act  of  adoption  could  take  place 
in  the  family. 

The  civil  list  was  to  be  the  same  as  that  granted  to  the 
King  in  1791,  and  the  princes  were  to  be  endowed  in  accord- 
ance with  the  law  of  December  20,  1791.  The  great  digni- 
taries were  to  have  one  third  of  the  sum  settled  on  the 
princes.  They  were  to  preside  over  the  electoral  colleges  of 
the  six  largest  towns  in  the  Empire,  and  the  princes,  from 
the  eighteenth  year  of  their  age,  were  to  be  permanent  mem- 
bers of  the  Senate  and  the  Council  of  State. 

Fourteen  Marshals  of  France  were  created  at  this  date, 
and  the  title  of  Marshal  was  conferred  on  four  of  the  Sena- 
tors. The  new  Marshals  were  Berthier,  Murat,  Moncey, 


FOUNDATION  OF  THE  EMPIRE.  157 

Jourdan,  Massena,  Augereau,  Bernadotte,  Soult,  Brune, 
Lannes,  Mortier,  Ney,  Davoust,  Bessieres ;  the  four  Senators 
were  Kellermann,  Lefebvre,  Perignon,  and  Semirier. 

An  article  in  the  "  Moniteur  "  apprised  the  public  that 
the  title  of  Imperial  Highness  was  to  be  given  to  the  princes, 
that  of  Serene  Highness  and  Monseigneur  to  the  great  dig- 
nitaries ;  that  the  Ministers  were  to  be  called  Monseigneur 
by  public  officials  and  all  petitioners,  and  the  Marshals  Mon- 
sieur le  Marechal. 

Thus  disappeared  the  title  of  "  Citizen,"  which  had  long 
since  been  disused  in  society,  where  "Monsieur"  had  re- 
sumed its  former  place,  but  which  Bonaparte  was  always 
most  careful  to  employ.  On  the  same  day,  the  18th  of  May, 
his  brothers,  with  Cambaceres  and  Lebrun  and  the  officers  of 
his  household,  were  invited  to  dine  with  him,  and  we  heard 
him  use  the  old  word  "  Monsieur  "  for  the  first  time,  without 
being  betrayed  by  habit  into  saying  "  Citizen  "  even  once. 

Titles  were  also  accorded  to  the  great  officers  of  the  Em- 
pire, eight  inspectors  and  colonels-general  of  artillery,  engi- 
neers, cavalry,  and  the  navy,  and  the  great  civil  officers  of 
the  Crown,  to  whom  I  shall  refer  hereafter. 


CHAPTEK  VIL 

Effects  and  Causes  of  the  Accession  of  Bonaparte  to  the  Imperial  Throne — The 
Emperor  converses— The  Grievances  of  Mme.  Murat— The  Character  of  M.  de 
Ke"musat— The  New  Court. 

THE  accession  of  Bonaparte  to  the  Imperial  throne  was 
very  variously  regarded  in  Europe,  and  even  in  France  opin- 
ions were  divided.  It  is,  however,  quite  certain  that  it  did 
not  displease  the  great  majority  of  the  nation.  The  Jaco- 
bins were  not  astonished  by  it,  for  they  themselves  were  in 
the  habit  of  pushing  success  as  far  as  it  would  go,  whenever 
luck  favored  them.  Among  the  Royalists  it  spread  disheart- 
enment,  and  that  was  just  what  Bonaparte  wanted.  The 
exchange  of  the  Consulate  for  Imperial  authority  was,  how- 
ever, regarded  with  dislike  by  all  true  friends  of  liberty. 
These  true  friends  were,  unfortunately,  divided  into  two 
classes,  so  that  their  influence  was  diminished — an  evil  which 
still  exists.  One  class  regarded  the  change  of  the  reigning 
dynasty  with  indifference,  and  would  have  accepted  Bona- 
parte as  readily  as  another,  provided  that  he  had  received  his 
royal  authority  in  right  of  a  constitution  which  would  have 
restrained  as  well  as  founded  it.  They  regarded  the  seizure 
of  power  by  an  enterprising  and  warlike  man  with  serious 
apprehension;  for  it  was  plain  enough  that  the  so-called 
"  bodies  of  the  State,"  which  were  already  reduced  to  insig- 
nificance, would  be  unable  to  check  his  encroachments.  The 
Senate  seemed  to  be  given  over  to  mere  passive  obedience  ; 
the  Tribunate  was  shaken  to  its  foundations  ;  and  what  was 
to  be  expected  from  a  silent  Corps  Legislatif  ?  The  Minis- 
ters, deprived  of  all  responsibility,  were  no  more  than  head 


EFFECTS  AND   CAUSES  OF  THE  ACCESSION.     159 

clerks,  and  it  was  evident  beforehand  that  the  Council  of 
State  would  henceforth  be  merely  a  storehouse,  whence  such 
laws  as  circumstances  might  demand  could  be  taken,  as  occa- 
sion for  them  arose. 

If  this  section  of  the  friends  of  liberty  had  been  more 
numerous  and  better  led,  it  might  have  set  itself  to  demand 
the  settled  and  legitimate  exercise  of  its  rights,  which  is 
never  demanded  in  vain  by  a  nation  in  the  long  run.  There 
existed,  however,  a  second  party,  which  agreed  with  the  first 
on  fundamental  principles  only,  and,  abiding  by  theories  of 
its  own,  which  it  had  already  attempted  to  practice  in  a  dan- 
gerous and  sanguinary  manner,  lost  the  opportunity  of  pro- 
ducing an  effective  opposition.  To  this  section  belonged  the 
proselytes  of  the  Anglo-American  Government,  who  had 
disgusted  the  nation  with  the  notion  of  liberty. 

They  had  witnessed  the  creation  of  the  Consulate  without 
any  protest,  for  it  was  a  tolerably  fair  imitation  of  the  Presi- 
dentship of  the  United  States ;  they  believed,  or  wished  to 
believe,  that  Bonaparte  would  maintain  that  equality  of  rights 
to  which  they  attached  so  much  importance,  and  some  among^ 
them  were  really  deceived.  I  say  "  some,"  because  I  think 
the  greater  number  fell  into  a  trap,  baited  with  flattery  and 
consultations  on  all  sorts  of  matters,  which  Bonaparte  dex- 
terously set  for  them.  If  they  had  not  had  some  private 
interest  to  serve  by  deceiving  themselves,  how  could  they 
have  declared  afterward  that  they  had  approved  of  Bona- 
parte only  as  Consul,  but  that  as  Emperor  he  was  odious  to 
them?  In  what  respect  was  he,  while  Consul,  different 
from  his  ordinary  self  ?  What  was  his  Consular  authority 
but  dictatorship  under  another  name  ?  Did  he  not,  as  Con- 
sul, make  peace  and  declare  war  without  consulting  the* 
nation  ?  Did  not  the  right  of  levying  the  conscription  de- 
volve upon  him  ?  Did  he  permit  freedom  in  the  discussion 
of  affairs  ?  Could  any  journal  publish  a  single  article  with- 
out his  approval  ?  Did  he  not  make  it  perfectly  clear  that 
he  held  his  power  by  the  right  of  his  victorious  arms  ?  Howy 


160  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  K^MUSAT. 

then,  could  stern  Republicans  have  allowed  him  to  take  them 
by  surprise  ? 

I  can  understand  how  it  was  that  men,  worn  out  by  the 
turmoil  of  the  Revolution,  and  afraid  of  that  liberty  which 
had  been  so  long  associated  with  death,  looked  for  repose 
under  the  dominion  of  an  able  ruler,  on  whom  fortune  was 
seemingly  resolved  to  smile.  I  can  conceive  that  they 
regarded  his  elevation  as  a  decree  of  destiny,  and  fondly 
believed  that  in  the  irrevocable  they  should  find  peace.  I 
may  confidently  assert  that  those  persons  believed  quite  sin- 
cerely that  Bonaparte,  whether  as  Consul  or  as  Emperor, 
would  exert  his  authority  to  oppose  the  attempts  of  faction, 
and  would  save  us  from  the  perils  of  anarchy. 

None  dared  to  utter  the  word  Republic,  so  deeply  had 
the  Terror  stained  that  name,  and  the  Directorial  govern- 
ment had  perished  in  the  contempt  with  which  its  chiefs 
were  regarded.  The  return  of  the  Bourbons  could  only  be 
brought  about  by  the  aid  of  a  revolution  ;  and  the  slightest 
disturbance  terrified  the  French  people,  in  whom  enthusiasm 
of  every  kind  seemed  to  be  dead.  Besides,  the  men  in  whom 
they  had  trusted  had,  one  after  the  other,  deceived  them ; 
and  as,  this  time,  they  were  yielding  to  force,  they  were  at 
least  certain  that  they  were  not  deceiving  themselves. 

The  belief,  or  rather  the  error,  that  only  despotism  could 
at  that  epoch  maintain  order  in  France,  was  very  widespread. 
It  became  the  mainstay  of  Bonaparte  ;  and  it  is  due  to  him 
to  say  that  he  also  held  it.  The  factions  played  into  his 
hands  by  imprudent  attempts  which  he  turned  to  his  own 
advantage  ;  he  had  some  grounds  for  his  belief  that  he  was 
necessary ;  France  believed  it  too ;  and  he  even  succeeded 
in  persuading  foreign  sovereigns  that  he  formed  a  barrier 
against  Republican  influences,  which,  but  for  him,  might 
spread  widely.  At  the  moment  when  Bonaparte  placed  the 
Imperial  crown  upon  his  head,  there  was  not  a  king  in  Eu- 
rope who  did  not  believe  that  he  wore  his  own  crown  more 
securely  because  of  that  event.  Had  the  new  Emperor  added 


EFFECTS  AND   CAUSES  OF  THE  ACCESSION.     161 

to  that  decisive  act  the  gift  of  a  liberal  constitution,  the 
peace  of  nations  and  of  kings  might,  in  sober  seriousness, 
have  been  for  ever  secured. 

Sincere  defenders  of  Bonaparte's  original  system — and 
some  of  these  still  exist — advance,  in  justification  of  it,  that 
we  could  not  have  exacted  from  him  that  which  it  belongs 
only  to  a  legitimate  sovereign  to  bestow ;  that  freedom  to 
discuss  our  interests  might  have  been  followed  by  the  dis- 
cussion of  our  rights ;  that  England,  jealous  of  our  reviving 
prosperity,  would  have  fomented  fresh  disturbances  among 
us ;  that  our  princes  had  not  abandoned  their  designs,  and 
that  the  slow  methods  of  constitutional  government  would 
not  have  availed  to  restrain  the  contending  factions.  Hume 
says,  when  speaking  of  Cromwell,  that  it  is  a  great  difficulty 
for  a  usurping  government  that  its  personal  policy  is  gener- 
ally opposed  to  the  interest  of  its  country.  This  gives  a  su- 
periority to  hereditary  authority,  of  which  it  would  be  well 
that  nations  should  be  convinced.  But,  after  all,  Bonaparte 
was  not  an  ordinary  usurper ;  his  elevation  offered  no  point 
of  comparison  with  that  of  Cromwell.  "  I  found  the  crown 
of  France  lying  on  the  ground,"  said  he,  "  and  I  took  it  up 
on  the  point  of  my  sword."  He  was  the  product  of  an  in- 
evitable revolution ;  but  he  had  no  share  in  its  disasters,  and 
I  sincerely  believe  that,  until  the  death  of  the  Due  d'Enghien, 
it  would  have  been  possible  for  him  to  legitimize  his  power 
by  conferring  upon  France  benefits  of  a  kind  which  would 
have  pledged  the  nation  to  him  and  his  for  ever. 

His  despotic  ambition  misled  him ;  but,  I  say  it  again,  he 
was  not  the  only  one  who  went  astray.  He  was  beguiled  by 
appearances  which  he  did  not  take  the  trouble  to  investigate. 
The  word  "  liberty  "  did  indeed  resound  in  the  air  about  him, 
but  those  who  uttered  it  were  not  held  in  sufficient  esteem 
by  the  nation  to  be  made  its  representatives  to  him.  Well- 
meaning,  honest  folk  asked  nothing  of  him  but  repose,  and 
did  not  trouble  themselves  about  the  form  under  which  it 
was  to  be  granted.  And  then,  he  knew  well  that  the  secret 


162  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R&MUSAT. 

weakness  of  the  French  nation  was  vanity,  and  he  saw  a 
means  of  gratifying  it  easily  by  the  pomp  and  display  that 
attend  on  monarchical  power.  He  revived  distinctions  which 
were  now,  in  reality,  democratic,  because  they  were  placed 
within  the  reach  of  all  and  entailed  no  privileges.  The 
eagerness  displayed  in  the  pursuit  of  these  titles,  and  of 
crosses,  which  were  objects  of  derision  while  they  hung  on 
the  coats  of  one's  neighbors,  was  not  likely  to  undeceive 
him,  if  indeed  he  was  on  the  wrong  road.  Was  it  not  natu- 
ral, on  the  contrary,  that  he  should  applaud  and  congratulate 
himself,  when  he  had  succeeded  in  bringing  feudal  and  re- 
publican pretensions  to  the  same  level  by  the  assistance  of  a 
few  bits  of  ribbons  and  some  words  added  to  men's  names  ? 
Had  not  we  ourselves  much  to  do  with  that  notion  which  be- 
came so  firmly  fixed  in  his  mind,  that,  for  his  own  safety  and 
for  ours,  he  ought  to  use  the  power  which  he  possessed  to 
suspend  the  Revolution  without  destroying  it  ?  "  My  suc- 
cessor," said  he,  "  whoever  he  may  be,  will  be  forced  to  march 
with  his  own  times,  and  to  find  his  support  in  liberal  opin- 
ions. I  will  bequeath  them  to  him,  but  deprived  of  their 
primitive  asperity."  France  imprudently  applauded  this 
idea. 

Nevertheless,  a  warning  voice — that  of  conscience  for 
him,  that  of  our  interests  for  us — spoke  to  him  and  to  us 
alike.  If  he  would  silence  that  importunate  whisper,  he 
would  have  to  dazzle  us  by  a  series  of  surprising  feats. 
Hence  those  interminable  wars,  whose  duration  was  so  all- 
important  to  him  that  he  always  called  the  peace  which  he 
signed  "  a  halt,"  and  hence  the  fact  that  into  every  one  of 
his  treaties  he  was  forced  by  M.  de  Talleyrand's  skill  in  nego- 
tiation. When  he  returned  to  Paris,  and  resumed  the'  admin- 
istration of  the  affairs  of  France,  in  addition  to  the  fact  that 
he  did  not  know  what  to  do  with  an  army  whose  demands 
grew  with  its  victories,  he  had  to  encounter  the  dumb  but 
steady  and  inevitable  resistance  which  the  spirit  of  the  age, 
in  spite  of  individual  proclivities,  opposes  to  despotism ;  so 


EFFECTS  AND   CAUSES  OF  THE  ACCESSION.     163 

that  despotism  has  happily  become  an  impracticable  mode  of 
government.  It  died  with  the  good  fortune  of  Bonaparte, 
when,  as  Mme.  de  Stael  said,  "  The  terrible  mace  which  he 
alone  could  wield  fell  at  last  upon  his  own  head."  Happy, 
thrice  happy,  are  the  days  in  which  we  are  now  living,  since 
we  have  exhausted  every  experiment,  and  only  madmen  can 
dispute  the  road  which  leads  to  safety. 

Bonaparte  was  seconded  for  a  long  time  by  the  military 
ardor  of  the  youth  of  France.  That  insensate  passion  for 
conquest  which  has  been  implanted  by  an  evil  spirit  in  men 
collected  into  societies,  to  retard  the  progress  of  each  genera- 
tion in  every  kind  of  prosperity,  urged  us  forward  in  the 
path  of  Bonaparte's  career  of  devastation.  France  can  rarely 
resist  glory,  and  it  was  especially  tempting  when  it  covered 
and  disguised  the  humiliation  to  which  we  were  then  con- 
demned. When  Bonaparte  was  quiet,  he  let  us  perceive  the 
reality  of  our  servitude ;  when  our  sons  marched  away  to 
plant  our  standards  on  the  ramparts  of  all  the  great  cities  of 
Europe,  that  servitude  disappeared.  It  was  a  long  time  be- 
fore we  recognized  that  each  one  of  our  conquests  was  a  link 
in  the  chain  that  fettered  our  liberties ;  and,  when  we  became 
fully  aware  of  what  our  intoxication  had  led  us  into,  it  was 
too  late  for  resistance.  The  army  had  become  the  accom- 
plice of  tyranny,  had  broken  with  France,  and  would  treat 
a  cry  for  deliverance  as  revolt. 

The  greatest  of  Bonaparte's  errors — one  very  characteris- 
tic of  him — was  that  he  never  took  anything  but  success  into 
account  in  the  calculations  on  which  he  acted.  Perhaps  he 
was  more  excusable  than  another  would  have  been  in  doubt- 
ing whether  any  reverse  could  come  to  him.  His  natural 
pride  shrank  from  the  idea  of  a  defeat  of  any  kind.  There 
was  the  weak  point  in  his  strong  mind,  for  such  a  man  as  he 
ought  to  have  contemplated  every  contingency.  But,  as  he 
lacked  nobility  of  soul,  and  had  not  that  instinctive  elevation 
of  mind  which  rises  above  evil  fortune,  he  turned  his  thoughts 
away  from  this  weakness  in  himself,  and  contemplated  only 


164  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  KfiMUSAT. 

his  wonderful  faculty  of  growing  greater  with  success.  "  / 
shall  succeed "  was  the  basis  of  all  his  calculations,  and  his 
obstinate  repetition  of  the  phrase  helped  him  to  realize  the 
prediction.  At  length  his  own  good  fortune  grew  into  a 
superstition  with  him,  and  his  worship  of  it  made  every  sac- 
rifice which  was  to  be  imposed  upon  us  fair  and  lawful  in  his 
eyes. 

And  we  ourselves — let  us  once  more  own  it — did  we  not 
at  first  share  this  baleful  superstition  ?  At  the  time  of  which 
I  write,  it  had  great  mastery  over  our  wonder-loving  imagina- 
tions. The  trial  of  General  Moreau  and  the  death  of  the  Due 
d'Enghien  had  shocked  every  one's  feelings,  but  had  not 
changed  public  opinion.  Bonaparte  scarcely  tried  to  conceal 
that  both  events  had  furthered  the  project  which  for  a  long 
time  past  he  had  been  maturing.  It  is  to  the  credit  of  hu- 
man nature  that  repugnance  to  crime  is  innate  among  us ; 
that  we  willingly  believe,  when  a  guilty  act  is  acknowledged 
by  its  perpetrator,  that  he  has  been  absolutely  forced  to 
commit  it;  and,  when  he  succeeded  in  raising  himself  by 
such  deeds,  we  too  readily  accepted  the  bargain  that  he  of- 
fered us — absolution  on  our  part,  as  the  guerdon  of  success 
on  his. 

Thenceforth  he  was  no  longer  beloved ;  but  the  days  in 
which  monarchs  reign  through  the  love  of  nations  are  gone 
by,  and,  when  Bonaparte  let  us  see  that  he  could  punish  even 
our  thoughts,  he  was  well  pleased  to  exchange  the  affection 
we  had  striven  to  retain  for  him  for  the  very  real  fear  that 
he  inspired.  We  admired,  or  at  least  we  wondered  at,  the 
boldness  of  the  game  which  he  was  openly  playing;  and 
when  at  last  he  sprang,  with  imposing  audacity,  from  the 
blood-stained  grave  at  Yincennes  to  the  steps  of  the  Imperial 
throne,  exclaiming,  "  I  have  won  ! "  France,  in  her  amaze- 
ment, could  but  reecho  his  words.  And  that  was  all  he 
wanted  her  do. 

A  few  days  after  Bonaparte  had  assumed  the  title  of 
Emperor  (by  which  I  shall  not  scruple  to  designate  him,  for, 


THE  EMPEROR  CONVERSES.  165 

after  all,  lie  bore  it  longer  than  that  of  Consul  *),  on  one  of 
those  occasions  when,  as  I  have  said  before,  he  was  disposed 
to  talk  freely  to  us,  he  was  discussing  his  new  position  with 
the  Empress,  my  husband,  and  myself.  I  think  I  see  him 
still,  in  the  window-recess  of  a  drawing-room  at  Saint  Cloud, 
astride  on  a  chair,  resting  his  chin  on  the  back  of  it.  Mme. 
Bonaparte  reclined  on  a  sofa  near  him ;  I  was  sitting  oppo- 
site him,  and  M.  de  Remusat  stood  behind  my  chair.  For  a 
long  time  the  Emperor  had  been  silent ;  then  he  suddenly 
addressed  me :  "  You  have  borne  me  a  grudge  for  the  death 
of  the  Due  d'Enghien?"  "It  is  true,  Sire,"  I  answered, 
"  and  I  still  bear  it  you.  I  believe  you  did  yourself  much 
harm  by  that  act."  "  But  are  you  aware  that  he  was  waiting 
at  the  frontier  for  me  to  be  assassinated  ? "  "  Possibly,  Sire ; 
but  still  he  was  not  in  France."  "  Ah  !  there  is  no  harm  in 
showing  other  countries,  now  and  then,  that  one  is  the  mas- 
ter." "  There,  Sire,  do  not  let  us  speak  of  it,  or  you  will 
make  me  cry."  "  Ah !  tears !  "Woman's  only  weapon.  That 
is  like  Josephine.  She  thinks  she  has  carried  her  point  when 
she  begins  to  cry.  Are  not  tears,  M.  de  Remusat,  the  strong- 
est argument  of  women?"  "Sire,"  replied  my  husband, 
"  there  are  tears  which  can  not  be  censured." 

"  All !  I  perceive  that  you  also  take  a  serious  view  of  the 
matter.  But  that  is  quite  natural ;  you  have  seen  other  days, 
all  of  you,  and  you  remember  them.  I  only  date  from  the 
day  when  I  began  to  be  somebody.  What  is  a  Due  d'En- 
ghien  to  me  3  Only  an  emigre,  more  important  than  the 
others — nothing  more.  But  that  was  enough  to  make  me 
strike  hard.  Those  crack-brained  Royalists  had  actually 
spread  a  report  that  I  was  to  replace  the  Bourbons  on  the 
throne.  The  Jacobins  became  alarmed,  and  they  sent  Fouche* 
to  me  to  inquire  into  my  intentions.  Power  has  for  the  last 
two  years  fallen  so  naturally  into  my  hands,  that  people  may 

*  This  remark  would  appear  a  strange  one,  if  the  reader  did  not  recollect 
that  the  Memoirs  were  written  under  the  Restoration,  when  the  wx)rds  Emperor, 
Empire,  and  Bonaparte  were  no  longer  uttered  in  good  society. — P.  R. 


166  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE 

well  have  doubted  sometimes  whether  I  had  any  serious  in- 
tention of  investing  myself  with  it  officially.  I  came  to  the 
conclusion  that  it  was  my  duty  to  profit  by  this,  in  order  to 
put  a  lawful  end  to  the  Revolution.  The  reason  why  I  chose 
Empire  rather  than  Dictatorship  is  because  one  becomes 
legitimate  by  taking  up  well-known  ground.  I  began  by 
trying  to  reconcile  the  two  contending  factions  at  the  time 
of  my  accession  to  the  Consulship.  I  thought  that,  in  estab- 
lishing order  by  means  of  permanent  institutions,  I  should 
put  an  end  to  their  enterprises ;  but  factions  are  not  to  be 
put  down  so  long  as  any  fear  of  them  is  shown,  and  every 
attempt  to  conciliate  them  looks  like  fear.  Besides,  it  may 
sometimes  be  possible  to  get  the  better  of  a  sentiment ;  but 
of  an  opinion,  never.  I  saw  clearly  that  I  could  make  no 
alliance  between  the  two,  but  that  I  might  make  one  with 
both  of  them  on  my  own  account.  The  Concordat  and  the 
permissions  to  return  have  conciliated  the  emigres,  and  I 
shall  soon  be  completely  reconciled  with  them  ;  for  you  will 
see  how  the  attractions  of  a  Court  will  allure  them.  The 
mere  phrases  that  recall  former  habits  will  win  over  the  no- 
bility, but  the  Jacobins  require  deeds.  They  are  not  men  to 
be  won  by  fair  words.  They  were  satisfied  with  my  neces- 
sary severity  when,  after  the  3d  Nivose,*  at  the  very  mo- 
ment of  a  purely  Royalist  conspiracy,  I  transported  a  number 
of  Jacobins.  They  might  justly  have  complained  if  I  had 
struck  a  weaker  blow.  You  all  thought  I  was  becoming 
cruel  and  bloodthirsty,  but  you  were  wrong.  I  have  no  feel- 
ings of  hatred — I  am  not  capable  of  acting  from  revenge ;  I 
only  sweep  obstacles  from  my  path,  and,  if  it  were  expedient, 
you  should  see  me  pardon  Georges  Cadoudal  to-morrow,  al- 
though he  came  simply  and  solely  to  assassinate  me. 

"  When  people  find  that  public  tranquillity  is  the  result 
of  the  event  in  question,  they  will  no  longer  reproach  me 
with  it,  and  in  a  year's  time  this  execution  will  be  regarded 
as  a  great  act  of  policy.  It  is  true,  however,  that  it  has 

*  The  epoch  of  the  "  infernal  machine." 


THE  EMPEROR  CONVERSES.  167 

driven  me  to  shorten  the  crisis.  What  I  have  just  done  I 
did  not  intend  to  do  for  two  years  yet.  I  meant  to  retain 
the  Consulate,  although  words  and  things  clash  with  one  an- 
other under  this  form  of  government,  and  the  signature  I 
affixed  to  all  the  acts  of  my  authority  was  the  sign  manual  of 
a  continual  lie.  We  should  have  got  on  nevertheless,  France 
and  I,  because  she  has  confidence  in  me,  and  what  I  will  she 
wills. 

"As,  however,  this  particular  conspiracy  was  meant  to 
shake  the  whole  of  Europe,  the  Eoyalists  and  also  Europe 
had  to  be  undeceived.  I  had  to  choose  between  continuous 
persecution  or  one  decisive  blow ;  and  my  decision  was  not 
doubtful.  I  have  for  ever  silenced  both  Royalists  and  Jaco- 
bins. Only  the  Republicans  remain — mere  dreamers,  who 
think  a  republic  can  be  made  out  of  an  old  monarchy,  and 
that  Europe  would  stand  by  and  let  us  quietly  found  a  fede- 
rative government  of  twenty  million  men.  The  Republicans 
I  shall  not  win,  but  they  are  few  in  number  and  not  impor- 
tant. The  rest  of  you  Frenchmen  like  a  monarchy ;  it  is  only 
the  government  that  pleases  you.  I  will  wager  that  you,  M. 
de  Remusat,  are  a  hundred  times  more  at  your  ease,  now 
that  you  call  me  Sire  and  that  I  address  you  as  Mon- 
sieur?" 

As  there  was  some  truth  in  this  remark,  my  husband 
laughed,  and  answered  that  certainly  the  sovereign  power  be- 
came his  Majesty  very  well. 

"  The  fact  is,"  resumed  the  Emperor,  good-humoredly,  "  I 
believe  I  should  not  know  how  to  obey.  I  recollect,  at  the 
time  of  the  Treaty  of  Campo  Formio,  M.  de  Cobentzel  and  I 
met,  in  order  to  conclude  it,  in  a  room  where,  according  to 
an  Austrian  custom,  a  dais  had  been  erected  and  the  throne 
of  the  Emperor  of  Austria  was  represented.  On  entering 
the  room,  I  asked  what  that  meant ;  and  afterward  I  said  to 
the  Austrian  Minister,  'Now,  before  we  begin,  have  that 
arm-chair  removed,  for  I  can  never  see  one  seat  higher  than 
the  others  without  instantly  wanting  to  place  myself  in  it.' 


168  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  REMITS  AT. 

You  see,  I  had  an  instinct  of  what  was  to  happen  to  me  some 
day. 

"  I  have  now  acquired  one  great  advantage  for  my  gov- 
ernment of  France  :  neither  she  nor  I  will  deceive  ourselves 
any  longer.  Talleyrand  wanted  me  to  make  myself  King — 
that  is  the  word  of  his  dictionary ;  but  I  will  have  no  grands 
seigneurs,  except  those  I  make  myself.  Besides  which,  the 
title  of  King  is  worn  out.  Certain  preconceived  ideas  are 
attached  to  it ;  it  would  make  me  a  kind  of  heir,  and  I  will 
be  the  heir  of  no  one.  The  title  that  I  bear  is  a  grander 
one  ;  it  is  still  somewhat  vague,  and  leaves  room  for  the  im- 
agination. Here  is  a  revolution  brought  to  an  end,  and,  I 
flatter  myself,  not  harshly.  Would  you  know  why?  Be- 
cause no  interests  have  been  displaced,  and  many  have  been 
revived.  That  vanity  of  yours  must  always  have  breathing 
room  ;  you  would  have  been  wearied  to  death  with  the  dull 
sternness  of  a  republican  government.  What  caused  the 
Bevolution?  Yanity.  What  will  end  it?  Vanity  again. 
Liberty  is  a  pretext ;  equality  is  your  hobby,  and  here  are 
the  people  quite  pleased  with  a  king  taken  from  the  ranks 
of  the  soldiery.  Men  like  the  Abbe  Sieyes,"  he  added, 
laughing,  "  may  inveigh  against  despotism,  but  my  authority 
will  always  be  popular.  To-day  I  have  the  people  and  the 
army  on  my  side ;  and  with  these  a  man  would  be  a  great 
fool  who  could  not  reign." 

With  these  concluding  words,  Bonaparte  rose.  Hitherto 
he  had  been  very  agreeable;  his  tone  of  voice,  his  counte- 
nance, his  gestures,  all  were  familiar  and  encouraging.  He 
had  been  smiling,  he  had  seen  our  answering  smiles,  and  had 
even  been  amused  by  the  remarks  we  had  made  on  his  dis- 
course ;  in  fact,  he  had  put  us  perfectly  at  our  ease.  But 
now,  in  a  moment,  his  manner  changed.  He  looked  at  us 
sternly,  in  a  way  that  always  seemed  to  increase  his  short 
stature,  and  gave  M.  de  Hemusat  some  insignificant  order  in 
the  curt  tone  of  a  despotic  master,  who  takes  care  that  every 
request  shall  be  a  command. 


THE  GRIEVANCES  OF  MADAME  MURAT.         169 

His  tone  of  voice,  so  different  from  that  to  which  I  had 
been  listening  for  the  last  hour,  made  me  start ;  and,  when 
we  had  withdrawn,  my  husband,  who  had  noticed  my  invol- 
untary movement,  told  me  that  he  had  felt  the  same  sensa- 
tion. "You  perceive,"  he  said,  ahe  was  afraid  that  this 
momentary  unbending  and  confidence  might  lessen  the  fear 
he  is  always  anxious  to  inspire.  He  therefore  thought  proper 
to  dismiss  us  with  a  reminder  that  he  is  the  master."  I 
never  forgot  this  just  observation,  and  more  than  once  I  have 
seen  that  it  was  founded  on  a  sound  appreciation  of  Bona- 
parte's character. 

I  have  allowed  myself  to  digress  in  relating  this  conver- 
sation and  the  reflections  which  preceded  it,  and  must  now 
return  to  the  day  on  which  Bonaparte  was  made  Emperor, 
and  continue  to  depict  the  curious  scenes  of  which  I  was  an 
eye-witness. 

I  have  already  enumerated  the  guests  whom  Bonaparte 
invited  to  dine  with  him  on  that  day.  Just  before  dinner 
was  announced,  Duroc,  the  Governor  of  the  Palace,  informed 
each  of  us,  severally,  that  the  title  of  Prince  was  to  be  given 
to  Joseph  and  Louis  Bonaparte,  and  that  of  Princess  to  their 
wives.  Mmes.  Bacciochi  and  Murat  were  enraged  at  the 
distinction  thus  made  between  themselves  and  their  sisters- 
in-law;  and  Mme.  Murat  could  hardly  conceal  her  anger. 
At  six  o'clock  the  new  Emperor  made  his  appearance,  and, 
with  perfect  ease  and  readiness,  saluted  each  one  present  by 
his  or  her  new  title.  The  scene  made  a  deep  impression  on 
me  ;  I  felt  it  like  a  presentiment.  The  early  part  of  the  day 
had  been  fine,  but  very  hot ;  but,  about  the  time  of  the  arri- 
val of  the  Senate  at  Saint  Cloud,  the  weather  suddenly 
changed,  the  sky  became  overcast,  thunder  was  heard,  and 
for  several  hours  a  storm  seemed  impending.  The  dark  and 
heavy  atmosphere  which  weighed  on  the  palace  of  Saint 
Cloud  struck  me  as  an  evil  omen,  and  I  could  hardly  conceal 
the  depression  I  felt.  The  Emperor  was  in  good  spirits,  and, 
I  think,  secretly  enjoyed  the  slight  confusion  which  the 


170  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R^MUSAT. 

new  ceremonial  created  among  us  all.  The  Empress  was, 
as  usual,  gracious,  and  unaffected,  and  easy;  Joseph  and 
Louis  looked  pleased ;  Mme.  Joseph  appeared  resigned  to 
anything  that  might  be  required  of  her  ;  Mme.  Louis  was 
equally  submissive ;  and  Eugene  Beauharnais,  whom  I  can 
not  praise  too  highly  in  comparison  with  the  others,  was  sim- 
ple and  natural,  evidently  free  from  any  secret  ambition  or 
repining.  This  was  not  the  case  with  the  new-made  Mar- 
shal Murat ;  but  his  fear  of  his  brother-in-law  forced  him  to 
restrain  himself,  and  he  maintained  a  sullen  silence.  Mme. 
Murat  was  excessively  angry,  and  during  the  dinner  had  so 
little  control  over  herself  that,  on  hearing  the  Emperor  ad- 
dress Mme.  Louis  several  times  as  "Princess,"  she  could  not 
restrain  her  tears.  She  drank  several  glasses  of  water  in  or- 
der to  recover  herself,  and  to  appear  to  be  taking  something 
at  the  table,  but  her  tears  were  not  to  be  checked.  Every 
one  was  embarrassed,  and  her  brother  smiled  maliciously. 
For  my  own  part,  I  was  surprised,  and  even  shocked,  to  see 
that  young  and  pretty  face  disfigured  by  emotions  whose 
source  was  so  mean  a  passion. 

Mme.  Murat  was  then  between  twenty-two  and  twenty- 
three  years  of  age ;  her  dazzlingly  white  skin,  her  beautiful 
fair  hair,  the  flowery  wreath  which  decked  it,  the  rose-colored 
dress  she  wore,  all  contributed  to  give  her  a  youthful  and 
childlike  appearance.  The  feelings  which  she  now  displayed 
contrasted  harshly  with  those  charms.  ]STo  one  could  pity 
her  tears,  and  I  think  they  impressed  every  one  else  as  disa- 
greeably as  they  impressed  me. 

Mme.  Bacciochi,  who  was  older  and  had  more  command 
over  herself,  shed  no  tears ;  but  her  manner  was  abrupt  and 
sarcastic,  and  she  treated  us  all  with  marked  haughtiness. 

The  Emperor  became  annoyed  at  last  by  his  sisters'  be- 
havior, and  he  aggravated  their  ill  humor  by  indirect  taunts, 
which  wounded  them  very  deeply.  All  that  I  witnessed 
during  that  eventful  day  gave  me  new  notions  of  the  effect 
which  ambition  produces  on  minds  of  a  certain  order ;  it  was 


THE  GRIEVANCES  OF  MADAME  MURAT. 

a  spectacle  of  which  I  could  have  formed  no  previous  con- 
ception. 

On  the  following  day,  after  a  family  dinner,  a  violent 
scene  took  place,  at  which  I  was  not  present ;  but  we  could 
hear  something  of  it  through  the  wall  which  divided  the 
Empress's  boudoir  from  our  salon.  Mme.  Murat  burst  into 
complaints,  tears,  and  reproaches;  she  asked  why  she  and 
her  sisters  were  to  be  condemned  to  obscurity  and  contempt, 
while  strangers  were  to  be  loaded  with  honors  and  dignity  ? 
Bonaparte  answered  her  angrily,  asserting  several  times  that 
he  was  master,  and  would  distribute  honors  as  he  pleased. 
It  was  on  this  occasion  that  he  uttered  the  memorable  re- 
mark, "  Really,  inesdames,  to  hear  your  pretension,  one  would 
think  we  hold  the  crown  from  our  father,  the  late  King." 

The  Empress  afterward  retailed  to  me  the  whole  of  this 
angry  dispute.  With  all  her  kind-heartedness,  she  could  not 
help  enjoying  the  wrath  of  a  person  who  so  thoroughly  dis- 
liked her.  The  discussion  ended  by  Mme.  Murat's  falling 
on  the  floor  in  a  dead  faint,  overcome  by  her  excessive  anger 
and  by  the  acrimony  of  her  brother's  reproaches.  At  this, 
Bonaparte's  anger  vanished,  and  when  his  sister  recovered 
consciousness  he  gave  her  some  little  encouragement.  A 
few  days  later,  after  a  consultation  with  M.  de  Talleyrand, 
Cambaceres,  and  others,  it  was  arranged  that  titles  of  courtesy 
should  be  given  to  the  sisters  of  the  Emperor,  and  we  learned 
from  the  "Moniteur"  that  they  were  to  be  addressed  as 
"  Imperial  Highness." 

Another  vexation  was,  however,  in  store  for  Mme.  Murat 
and  her  husband.  The  private  regulations  of  the  palace  of 
Saint  Cloud  divided  the  Imperial  apartment  into  several  re- 
ception-rooms, which  could  only  be  entered  according  to  the 
newly  acquired  rank  of  each  person.  The  room  nearest  the 
Emperor's  cabinet  became  the  throne-room,  or  Princes'  room, 
and  Marshal  Murat,  although  the  husband  of  a  princess,  was 
excluded  from  it.  M.  de  Eemusat  had  the  unpleasant  task 
of  refusing  him  admittance  when  he  was  about  to  pass  in. 


172  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  E^MUSAT. 

Although  my  husband  was  not  responsible  for  the  orders  he 
had  received,  and  executed  them  with  scrupulous  politeness, 
Murat  was  deeply  offended  by  this  public  aifront;  and  he 
and  his  wife,  already  prejudiced  against  us  on  account  of  our 
attachment  to  the  Empress,  henceforth  honored  us  both,  if  I 
may  use  the  word,  with  a  secret  enmity,  of  which  we  have 
more  than  once  experienced  the  effects.  Mme.  Murat,  how- 
ever, who  had  discovered  her  influence  over  her  brother,  was 
far  from  considering  the  case  hopeless  on  this  occasion ;  and, 
in  fact,  she  eventually  succeeded  in  raising  her  husband  to 
the  position  she  so  eagerly  desired  for  him. 

The  new  code  of  precedence  caused  some  disturbance  in 
a  Court  which  had  hitherto  been  tolerably  quiet.  The 
struggle  of  contending  vanity  that  convulsed  the  Imperial 
family  was  parodied  in  Mme.  Bonaparte's  circle. 

In  addition  to  her  four  ladies-in-waiting,  Mme.  Bonaparte 
was  in  the  habit  of  receiving  the  wives  of  the  various  officers 
attached  to  the  service  of  the  First  Consul.  Besides  these, 
Mme.  Murat  was  frequently  invited — she  lived  permanently 
at  Saint  Cloud  on  account  of  her  husband's  position  there ; 
also  Mme.  de  la  Yalette,  the  Marquis  de  Beauharnais's  daugh- 
ter, whose  misfortunes  and  conjugal  tenderness  afterward 
made  her  famous  at  the  time  of  the  sentence  passed  on  her 
husband  and  his  escape,  in  1815.  He  was  of  very  humble 
origin,  but  clever,  and  of  an  amiable  disposition.  After  hav- 
ing served  some  time  in  the  army,  he  had  abandoned  a  mode 
of  life  unsuited  to  his  tastes.  The  First  Consul  had  employed 
him  on  some  diplomatic  missions,  and  had  just  appointed  him 
Counsellor  of  State.  He  evinced  extreme  devotion  to  all  the 
Beauharnais,  whose  kinsman  he  had  become.  His  wife  was 
amiable  and  unpretending  by  nature,  but  it  seemed  as  though 
vanity  were  to  become  the  ruling  passion  in  every  one  be- 
longing to  the  Court,  of  both  sexes  and  all  ages. 

An  order  from  the  Emperor  which  gave  the  ladies-in- 
waiting  precedence  over  others  became  a  signal  for  an  out- 
burst of  feminine  jealousy.  Mme.  Maret,  a  cold,  proud  per- 


THE  GRIEVANCES  OF  MADAME  MURAT.         173 

sonage,  was  annoyed  that  we  should  take  precedence  of  her, 
and  made  common  cause  with  Mme.  Murat,  who  fully  shared 
her  feelings.  Besides  this,  M.  de  Talleyrand,  who  was  no 
friend  to  Maret,  and  mercilessly  ridiculed  his  absurdities, 
and  was  also  on  bad  terms  with  Murat,  had  become  an  object 
of  dislike  to  both,  and,  consequently,  a  bond  of  union  be- 
tween the  two.  The  Empress  did  not  like  anybody  who 
was  a  friend  of  Mme.  Murat,  and  treated  Mme.  Maret  with 
some  coldness ;  and,  although  I  never  shared  any  of  these 
feelings,  and,  for  my  own  part,  disliked  nobody,  I  was  in- 
cluded in  the  animadversions  of  that  party  upon  the  Beau- 
harnais. 

On  Sunday  morning  the  new  Empress  received  com- 
mands to  appear  at  mass,  attended  only  by  her  four  ladies- 
in-waiting.  Mme.  de  la  Yalette,  who  had  hitherto  accom- 
panied her  aunt  on  all  occasions,  finding  herself  suddenly 
deprived  of  this  privilege,  burst  into  tears,  and  so  we  had  to 
set  about  consoling  this  ambitious  young  lady.  I  observed 
these  things  with  much  amusement,  preserving  my  serenity 
in  these  somewhat  absurd  dissensions,  which  were,  neverthe- 
less, natural  enough.  So  much  was  it  a  matter  of  course  for 
the  inmates  of  the  palace  to  live  in  a  state  of  excitement,  and 
to  be  either  joyous  or  depressed  according  as  their  new-born 
projects  of  ambition  were  accomplished  or  disappointed,  that 
one  day,  when  I  was  in  great  spirits  and  laughing  heartily  at 
some  jest  or  other,  one  of  Bonaparte's  aides-de-camp  came  up 
to  me  and  asked  me  in  a  low  voice  whether  I  had  been  prom- 
ised some  new  dignity.  I  could  not  help  asking  him  in  re- 
turn whether  he  fancied  that  at  Saint  Cloud  one  must  always 
be  in  tears  unless  one  was  a  princess. 

Yet  I  had  my  own  little  ambition  too,  but  it  was  moderate 
and  easy  to  satisfy.  The  Emperor  had  made  known  to  me 
through  the  Empress,  and  M.  de  Caulaincourt  had  repeated 
it  to  my  husband,  that,  on  the  consolidation  of  his  own  for- 
tunes, he  would  not  forget  those  who  had  from  the  first  de- 
voted themselves  to  his  service.  Relying  on  this  assurance, 


174  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE 

we  felt  easy  with  regard  to  our  future,  and  took  no  steps  to 
render  it  secure.  We  were  wrong,  for  every  one  else  was 
actively  at  work.  M.  de  Remusat  had  always  kept  aloof 
from  any  kind  of  scheming,  a  defect  in  a  man  who  lived  at 
a  Court.  Certain  good  qualities  are  absolutely  a  bar  to  ad- 
vancement in  the  favor  of  sovereigns.  They  do  not  like  to 
find  generous  feelings  and  philosophical  opinions  which  are 
a  mark  of  independence  of  mind  in  their  surroundings  ;  and 
they  think  it  still  less  pardonable  that  those  who  serve  them 
should  have  any  means  of  escaping  from  their  power.  Bo- 
naparte, who  was  exacting  in  the  kind  of  service  he  required, 
quickly  perceived  that  M.  de  Remusat  would  serve  him  faith- 
fully, and  yet  would  not  bend  to  all  his  caprices.  This  dis- 
covery, together  with  some  additional  circumstances  which  I 
shall  relate  in  their  proper  places,  induced  him  to  discard  his 
obligations  to  him.  He  retained  my  husband  near  him  ;  he 
made  use  of  him  to  suit  his  own  convenience ;  but  he  did 
not  confer  the  same  honors  upon  him  which  he  bestowed  on 
many  others,  because  he  knew  that  no  favors  would  procure 
the  compliance  of  a  man  who  was  incapable  of  sacrificing 
self-respect  to  ambition.  The  arts  of  a  courtier  were,  be- 
sides, incompatible  with  M.  de  Remusat's  tastes.  He  liked 
solitude,  serious  occupations,  family  life ;  every  feeling  of 
his  heart  was  tender  and  pure  ;  the  use,  or  rather  the  waste 
of  his  time,  which  was  exclusively  occupied  in  a  continual 
and  minute  attention  to  the  details  of  Court  etiquette,  was  a 
source  of  constant  regret  to  him.  The  Revolution,  which 
removed  him  from  the  ranks  of  the  magistracy,  having  de- 
prived him  of  his  chosen  calling,  he  thought  it  his  duty  to 
his  children  to  accept  the  position  which  had  offered  itself ; 
but  the  constant  attention  to  important  trifles  to  which  he 
was  condemned  was  wearisome,  and  he  was  only  punctual 
when  he  ought  to  have  been  assiduous.  Afterward,  when 
the  veil  fell  from  his  eyes,  and  he  saw  Bonaparte  as  he  really 
was,  his  generous  spirit  was  roused  to  indignation,  and  close 
personal  attendance  on  him  became  very  painful  to  my  hus- 


THE  NEW  COURT.  175 

band.  Nothing  is  so  fatal  to  the  promotion  of  a  courtier  as 
his  being  actuated  by  conscientious  scruples  which  he  does 
not  conceal.  But,  at  the  period  of  which  I  am  speaking, 
these  feelings  of  ours  were  still  only  vague,  and  I  must  re- 
peat what  I  have  already  said — that  we  believed  that  the 
Emperor  was  in  some  measure  indebted  to  us,  and  we  relied 
on  him. 

The  time  soon  came,  however,  when  we  lost  some  of  our 
importance.  People  of  rank  equal  to  our  own,  and  soon 
afterward  those  who  were  our  superiors  both  in  rank  and 
fortune,  begged  to  be  allowed  to  form  part  of  the  Imperial 
Court ;  and  thenceforth  the  Cervices  of  those  who  were  the 
first  to  show  the  way  thither  decreased  in  value.  Bonaparte 
was  highly  delighted  at  his  gradual  conquest  of  the  French 
nobility,  and  even  Mme.  Bonaparte,  who  was  more  suscepti- 
ble of  affection  than  he,  had  her  head  turned  for  a  time  by 
finding  real  grandes  dames  among  her  ladies-in-waiting. 
Wiser  and  more  far-sighted  persons  than  ourselves  would 
have  been  more  than  ever  attentive  and  assiduous  in  order  to 
keep  their  footing,  which  was  disputed  in  every  direction  by 
a  crowd  full  of  their  own  importance ;  but,  far  from  acting 
thus,  we  gave  way  to  them.  We  saw  in  all  this  an  oppor- 
tunity of  partially  regaining  our  freedom,  and  imprudently 
availed  ourselves  of  it ;  and  when,  from  any  cause  whatever, 
one  loses  ground  at  Court,  it  is  rarely  to  be  recovered. 

M.  de  Talleyrand,  who  was  urging  Bonaparte  to  surround 
himself  with  all  the  prestige  of  royalty,  advised  him  to  grati- 
fy the  vanity  and  pretension  of  those  whom  he  wished  to 
allure ;  and  in  France  the  nobility  can  be  satisfied  only  by 
being  placed  in  the  front.  Those  distinctions  to  which  they 
thought  themselves  entitled  had  to  be  dangled  before  their 
eyes ;  the  Montmorencys,  the  Montesquious,  etc.,  were  se- 
cured by  the  promise  that,  from  the  day  they  cast  in  their  lot 
with  Bonaparte,  they  should  resume  all  their  former  impor- 
tance. In  fact,  it  could  not  be  otherwise,  when  the  Emperor 
had  once  resolved  on  forming  a  regular  Court. 

lo 


176  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R^MUSAT. 

Some  persons  have  thought  that  Bonaparte  would  have 
done  more  wisely  had  he  retained  some  of  the  simplicity  and 
austerity  in  externals  which  disappeared  with  the  Consulate 
when  he  adopted  the  new  title  of  Emperor.  A  constitutional 
government  and  a  limited  Court,  displaying  no  luxury,  and 
significant  of  the  change  which  successive  revolutions  had 
wrought  in  people's  ideas,  might  perhaps  have  been  less 
pleasing  to  the  national  vanity,  but  it  would  have  com- 
manded more  real  respect.  At  the  time  of  which  I  am 
speaking,  the  dignities  to  be  conferred  on  those  persons  sur- 
rounding the  new  sovereign  were  much  discussed.  Duroc 
requested  M.  de  Eemusat  to  give  his  ideas  on  the  subject  in 
writing.  He  drew  up  a  wise  and  moderate  plan,  but  which 
was  too  simple  for  those  secret  projects  which  no  one  had 
then  divined.  "  There  is  not  sufficient  display  in  it,"  said 
Bonaparte,  as  he  read  it ;  "  all  that  would  not  throw  dust  in 
people's  eyes."  His  object  was  to  decoy,  in  order  to  deceive 
more  effectually. 

As  he  refused  to  give  a  free  constitution  to  the  French, 
he  had  to  conciliate  and  fascinate  them  by  every  possible 
means ;  and,  there  being  always  some  littleness  in  pride, 
supreme  power  was  not  enough  for  him — he  must  have  the 
appearance  of  it  too ;  he  must  have  etiquette,  chamberlains, 
and  so  forth,  which  he  believed  would  disguise  the  parvenu. 
He  liked  display ;  he  leaned  toward  a  feudal  system  quite 
alien  to  the  age  in  which  he  lived,  but  which  nevertheless  he 
intended  to  establish.  It  would,  however,  in  all  probability, 
have  only  lasted  for  the  duration  of  his  own  reign. 

It  would  be  impossible  to  record  all  his  notions  on  this 
subject.  The  following  were  some  of  them  :  "  The  French 
Empire,"  he  would  say,  "  will  become  the  mother  country  of 
the  other  sovereignties  of  Europe.  I  intend  that  each  of  the 
kings  shall  be  obliged  to  build  a  big  palace  for  his  own  use 
in  Paris ;  and  that,  on  the  coronation  of  the  Emperor  of  the 
French,  these  kings  shall  come  to  Paris,  and  grace  by  their 
presence  that  imposing  ceremony  to  which  they  will  render 


THE  NEW  COURT.  177 

homage."  What  did  this  project  mean,  except  that  he  hoped 
to  revive  the  feudal  system,  and  to  resuscitate  a  Charlemagne 
who,  for  his  own  advantage  only,  and  to  strengthen  his  own 
power,  should  avail  himself  of  the  despotic  notions  of  a  for- 
mer era  and  also  of  the  experience  of  modern  times  ? 

Bonaparte  frequently  declared  that  he  alone  was  the  whole 
Revolution,  and  he  at  length  persuaded  himself  that  in  his 
own  person  he  preserved  all  of  it  which  it  would  not  be  well 
to  destroy. 

A  fever  of  etiquette  seemed  to  have  seized  on  all  the  inhab- 
itants of  the  Imperial  palace  of  Saint  Cloud.  The  ponderous 
regulations  of  Louis  XIY.  were  taken  down  from  the  shelves 
in  the  library,  and  extracts  were  commenced  from  them, 
in  order  that  a  code  might  be  drawn  up  for  the  use  of  the 
new  Court.  Mme.  Bonaparte  sent  for  Mine.  Campan,  who 
had  been  First  Bedchamber  Woman  to  Marie  Antoinette. 
She  was  a  clever  woman,  and  kept  a  school,  where,  as  I  have 
already  mentioned,  nearly  all  the  young  girls  who  appeared 
at  Bonaparte's  Court  had  been  educated.  She  was  questioned 
in  detail  as  to  the  manners  and  customs  of  the  last  Queen  of 
France,  and  I  was  appointed  to  write  everything  that  she  re- 
lated from  her  dictation.  Bonaparte  added  the  very  volu- 
minous memoranda  which  resulted  from  this  to  those  which 
were  brought  to  him  from  all  sides.  M.  de  Talleyrand  was 
consulted  about  everything.  There  was  a  continual  coming 
and  going ;  people  were  living  in  a  kind  of  uncertainty  which 
had  its  pleasing  side,  because  every  one  hoped  to  rise  higher. 
I  must  candidly  confess  that  we  all  felt  ourselves  more  or  less 
elevated.  Vanity  is  ingenious  in  its  expectations,  and  ours 
were  unlimited. 

Sometimes  it  was  disenchanting,  for  a  moment,  to  ob- 
serve the  almost  ridiculous  effect  that  this  agitation  produced 
upon  certain  classes  of  society.  Those  who  had  nothing  to 
do  with  our  brand-new  dignities  said  with  Montaigne,  "  Verb- 
geons-nous  par  en  medire"  Jests  more  or  less  witty,  and  ca- 
lembours  more  or  less  ingenious,  were  lavished  on  these  new- 


178  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R^MUSAT. 

made  princes,  and  somewhat  disturbed  our  brilliant  visions ; 
but  the  number  of  those  who  dare  to  censure  success  is 
small,  and  flattery  was  much  more  common  than  criticism,  at 
any  rate  in  the  circle  under  our  observation. 

Such  was,  then,  the  position  of  affairs  at  the  close  of  the 
era  which  terminates  here.  The  narrative  of  the  second 
epoch  will  show  what  progress  we  all  made  (when  I  say  "  we 
all,"  I  mean  France  and  Europe)  in  this  course  of  brilliant 
errors,  which  was  destined  to  lead  to  the  loss  of  our  liberties 
and  the  obscuration  of  our  true  greatness  for  a  long  period. 

In  the  April  of  that  year  Bonaparte  made  his  brother 
Louis  a  member  of  the  Council  of  State,  and  Joseph  colonel 
of  the  4th  Regiment  of  Infantry.  "  You  must  both  belong 
to  the  civil  and  military  service  by  turns,"  he  said.  "  You 
must  not  be  strangers  to  anything  that  concerns  the  interests 
of  the  country." 


CHAPTEK  Yin. 

(1804.) 

The  Trial  of  General  Moreau— Condemnation  of  MM.  de  Polignac,  De  Riviere,  etc. 
—Pardon  of  M.  de  Polignac— A  Letter  from  Louis  XVm. 

THE  creation  of  the  Empire  had  turned  public  attention 
away  from  the  proceedings  against  Moreau,  which  were, 
however,  going  on.  The  accused  had  been  brought  before 
the  tribunal  several  times ;  but,  the  more  the  case  was  inves- 
tigated, the  less  hope  there  was  of  the  condemnation  of 
Moreau,  which  became  day  by  day  an  object  of  greater  im- 
portance. I  am  perfectly  convinced  that  the  Emperor  would 
not  have  allowed  Moreau's  life  to  be  taken.  That  the  Gen- 
eral should  be  condemned  and  pardoned  would  have  been 
sufficient  for  his  purpose,  which  was  to  refute,  by  the  sen- 
tence of  the  court,  those  who  accused  him  of  having  acted 
with  undue  haste  and  personal  animosity. 

All  who  have  brought  cool  observation  to  bear  upon  this 
important  event  are  agreed  in  thinking  that  Moreau  ex- 
hibited weakness  and  want  of  judgment.  When  he  was 
brought  up  for  examination,  he  showed  none  of  the  dignity 
that  was  expected  from  him.  He  did  not,  like  Georges  Ca- 
doudal,  assume  the  attitude  of  a  determined  man,  who  open- 
ly avowed  the  lofty  designs  that  had  actuated  him ;  neither 
did  he  assume  that  of  an  innocent  man,  full  of  righteous  in- 
dignation at  an  unjust  charge.  He  prevaricated  in  some  of 
his  answers,  and  the  interest  which  he  inspired  was  dimin- 
ished by  that  fact ;  but  even  then  Bonaparte  gained  nothing 


180  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R&MUSAT. 

by  this  lessening  enthusiasm,  and  not  only  party  spirit,  but 
reason  itself,  censured  no  less  strongly  than  before  a  proceed- 
ing which  was  still  attributed  to  personal  enmity. 

At  length,  on  the  30th  of  May,  the  formal  indictment 
(acte  d?  accusation)  appeared  in  the  "  Moniteur."  It  was  ac- 
companied by  certain  letters  written  by  Moreau  in  1795,  be- 
fore the  18th  Fructidor,  which  proved  that  the  General,  be- 
ing then  convinced  that  Pichegru  was  corresponding  with 
the  princes,  had  denounced  him  to  the  Directory.  A  gen- 
eral and  natural  question  then  arose :  Why  had  Moreau  acted 
so  differently  in  the  case  of  this  second  conspiracy,  justifying 
himself  by  the  statement  that  he  had  not  thought  it  proper 
to  reveal  the  secret  of  a  plot,  in  which  he  had  refused  to  en- 
gage, to  the  First  Consul  ? 

On  the  6th  of  June  the  examinations  of  all  the  accused 
persons  were  published.  Among  these  there  were  some  who 
declared  positively  that  the  princes,  in  England,  were  quite 
confident  that  they  might  count  upon  Moreau ;  that  it  was 
with  this  hope  Pichegru  had  gone  to  France,  and  that  the 
two  generals  had  subsequently  on  several  occasions  had  in- 
terviews with  Georges  Cadoudal.  They  even  asserted  that 
Pichegru  had  evinced  great  dissatisfaction  after  these  inter- 
views, had  complained  that  Moreau  gave  him  only  half- 
hearted support,  and  seemed  anxious  to  profit  on  his  own  ac- 
count by  the  blow  which  was  to  strike  Bonaparte.  A  person 
named  Bolland  declared  that  Moreau  had  said,  "  The  first 
thing  to  be  done  is  to  get  rid  of  the  First  Consul." 

Moreau,  on  being  questioned  in  his  turn,  answered  that 
Pichegru,  when  he  was  in  England,  had  conveyed  an  in- 
quiry to  him  as  to  whether  he  would  assist  him  in  case  he 
should  wish  to  return  to  France,  and  that  he  had  prom- 
ised to  help  him  to  carry  out  that  project.  It  naturally  occa- 
sioned no  little  astonishment  tfrat  Pichegru,  who  had  been 
denounced  some  years  before  by  Moreau  himself,  should 
have  applied  to  him  to  obtain  his  "  erasure  "  ;  and  Pichegru 
had,  at  the  time  of  his  examination,  denied  that  he  had  done 


TEE  TRIAL  OF  GENERAL  MOREAU.  181 

so.  At  the  same  time,  however,  he  also  denied  that  he  had 
seen  Moreau,  although  Moreau  acknowledged  that  they  had 
met,  and  he  persisted  in  declaring  that  in  coming  to  France 
he  had  been  actuated  solely  by  his  aversion  to  a  foreign 
country,  and  his  desire  to  return  to  his  own.  Shortly  after- 
ward Pichegru  was  found  strangled  in  his  prison,  and  the 
circumstances  of  his  death  have  never  been  explained,  nor 
have  any  comprehensible  motives  which  could  have  rendered 
it  necessary  to  himself  been  assigned.* 

Moreau  admitted  that  he  had  received  Pichegru  (who 
took  him,  he  said,  by  surprise)  at  his  house,  but  he  de- 
clared at  the  same  time  that  he  had  positively  refused 
to  enter  into  a  scheme  for  the  replacement  of  the  house 
of  Bourbon  on  the  throne,  because  such  a  resolution  would 
disturb  the  settlement  of  the  national  property;  and  he 
added  that,  so  far  as  his  own  personal  pretensions  were  con- 
cerned, the  notion  was  absurd,  as  it  would  have  been  neces- 
sary to  their  success  that  not  only  the  First  Consul,  but 
the  two  other  Consuls,  the  Governors  of  Paris,  and  the 
guard,  should  be  got  rid  of.  He  declared  that  he  had  seen 
Pichegru  but  once,  although  others  of  the  accused  asserted 

*  Here,  as  in  the  preceding  chapter,  the  author  is  not  sufficiently  precise  in 
relating  the  cause  of  the  death  of  General  Pichegru.  The  statement  that  he 
had  committed  suicide  was  received  at  the  time  with  widespread  incredulity,  and 
the  first  result  of  the  death  of  the  Due  d'Enghien  was  that  the  Emperor  was 
made  to  expiate  that  crime,  by  having  others  imputed  to  him  which  his  most  de- 
termined enemies  would  not  have  attributed  to  him  previously.  It  is  only  com- 
mon justice  to  Napoleon  to  record  that  his  accusers  have  never  been  able  to 
prove  that  it  was  for  his  interest  in  any  way  that  the  accused  should  not  appear 
before  his  judges.  M.  Thiers  has  demonstrated  that  Pichegru's  presence  at  the 
trial  was  necessary.  The  depositions  of  the  accused  of  all  parties  were  all 
equally  condemnatory  of  him.  His  legal  criminality  was  certain,  and  he  could 
not  fail  to  be  condemned,  and  to  deserve  his  condemnation.  The  man  who  was 
really  to  be  feared  was  Moreau.  It  has,  indeed,  been  said  that  a  report  made 
by  experts  established  the  impossibility  of  suicide  under  the  circumstances ;  i.  e., 
the  use  of  a  silk  handkerchief,  from  which  the  body  was  found  hanging.  We 
must,  however,  bear  in  mind  that  legal  medicine  seventy  years  ago  was  a  merely 
conjectural  science,  and  that  recent  experience  has  proved  suicide  by  strangula- 
tion to  be  easily  and  rapidly  effected. 


182  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  E^MUSAT. 

that  several  interviews  had  taken  place  between  them  ;  and 
he  maintained  this  line  of  defense  unshaken.  He  was,  how- 
ever, obliged  to  admit  that  he  had  discovered  at  an  advanced 
stage  of  the  affair  that  Frasnieres,  his  private  secretary,  was 
deeply  involved  with  the  conspirators.  Frasnieres  had  fled  on 
the  first  alarm. 

Georges  Cadoudal  answered  that  his  plan  was  to  attack 
the  First  Consul,  and  remove  him  by  force ;  that  he  had 
never  entertained  a  doubt  of  finding  in  Paris  itself  a  num- 
ber of  enemies  of  the  actual  regime  who  would  aid  him  in 
his  enterprise ;  and  that  he  would  have  endeavored  by  every 
means  in  his  power  to  replace  Louis  X VIII.  upon  his  throne. 
He  steadily  denied,  however,  that  he  knew  either  Pichegru 
or  Moreau ;  and  he  terminated  his  replies  with  these  words : 
"  You  have  victims  enough ;  I  do  not  wish  to  augment  their 
number." 

Bonaparte  seemed  to  be  impressed  by  this  strength  of 
character,  and  said  to  us  on  that  occasion,  "  If  it  were  pos- 
sible that  I  could  save  any  of  these  assassins,  I  should  pardon 
Georges." 

The  Due  de  Polignac  replied  that  he  had  come  to  France 
secretly,  with  the  sole  purpose  of  ascertaining  positively  the 
state  of  public  opinion,  and  what  were  the  chances  it  af- 
forded ;  but  that,  when  he  perceived  that  an  assassination 
was  in  question,  he  had  thought  only  of  getting  away  again, 
and  would  have  left  France  if  he  had  not  been  arrested. 

M.  de  Kiviere  made  a  similar  answer,  and  M.  Jules  de 
Polignac  declared  that  he  had  merely  followed  his  brother. 

On  the  10th  of  June  twenty  of  the  accused  persons  were 
convicted  and  sentenced  to  death.  At  the  head  of  the  list 
were  Georges  Cadoudal  and  the  Marquis  de  Kiviere.  The 
judgment  went  on  to  state  that  Jules  de  Polignac,  Louis 
Meridan,  Moreau,  and  Bolland  were  guilty  of  having  taken 
part  in  the  said  conspiracy,  but  that  it  appeared  from  the 
"  instruction  "  and  the  investigation  that  there  were  circum- 
stances which  rendered  them  excusable,  and  that  the  court 


CONDEMNATION  OF  M.  DE  POLIGNAC.  183 

therefore  commuted  the  punishment  which  they  had  incurred 
to  that  of  fine  and  imprisonment. 

I  was  at  Saint  Cloud  when  the  news  of  this  finding  of  the 
court  arrived.  Every  one  was  dumfounded.  The  Chief 
Judge  had  pledged  himself  to  the  First  Consul  that  Moreau 
should  be  condemned  to  death,  and  Bonaparte's  discomfiture 
was  so  great  that  he  was  incapable  of  concealing  it.  It  was 
publicly  known  that,  at  his  first  public  audience  on  the  Sun- 
day following,  he  displayed  ungoverned  anger  toward  Le- 
courbe  (brother  to  the  general  of  that  name),  the  judge  who 
had  spoken  strongly  in  favor  of  Moreau's  innocence  at  the 
trial.  He  ordered  Lecourbe  out  of  his  presence,  calling  him 
a  "  prevaricating  judge  " — an  epithet  whose  signification  no- 
body could  guess ;  and  shortly  afterward  he  deprived  him  of 
his  judgeship. 

I  returned  to  Paris,  much  troubled  by  the  state  of  things 
at  Saint  Cloud,  and  I  found  that  among  a  certain  party  in 
the  city  the  result  of  the  trial  was  regarded  with  exultation 
which  was  nothing  short  of  an  insult  to  the  Emperor.  The 
nobility  were  much  grieved  by  the  condemnation  of  the  Due 
de  Polignac. 

I  was  with  my  mother  and  my  husband,  and  we  were  de- 
ploring the  melancholy  results  of  these  proceedings,  and  the 
numerous  executions  which  were  about  to  take  place,  when 
I  was  informed  that  the  Duchesse  de  Polignac,  and  her 
aunt,  Mme.  Daudlau,  the  daughter  of  Helvetius,  whom  I 
had  often  met  in  society,  had  come  to  visit  me.  They  were 
ushered  into  the  room,  both  in  tears.  The  Duchess,  who 
was  in  an  interesting  situation,  enlisted  my  sympathies  at 
once ;  she  came  to  entreat  me  to  procure  an  audience  of  the 
Emperor  for  her,  that  she  might  implore  him  to  pardon  her 
husband.  She  had  no  means  of  gaining  admission  to  the 
palace  of  Saint  Cloud,  and  she  hoped  I  would  assist  her. 
M.  de'Eemusat  and  my  mother  were,  like  myself,  fully  alive 
to  the  difficulty  of  the  enterprise,  but  we  all  three  felt  that  I 
ought  not  to  allow  that  difficulty  to  hinder  me  from  making 


184:  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  E^MUSAT. 

the  attempt ;  and  as  we  still  had  some  days  before  us,  be- 
cause of  the  appeal  against  their  sentence  which  the  con- 
demned men  had  made,  I  arranged  with  the  two  ladies  that 
they  should  go  to  Saint  Cloud  on  the  following  day,  while  I 
was  to  precede  them  by  a  few  hours,  and  induce  Mme.  Bona- 
parte to  receive  them. 

Accordingly,  the  next  day  I  returned  to  Saint  Cloud,  and 
I  had  no  difficulty  in  obtaining  a  promise  from  my  good 
Empress  that  she  would  receive  a  person  in  so  unhappy  a 
position.  But  she  did  not  conceal  from  me  that  she  felt 
considerable  dread  of  approaching  the  Emperor  at  a  moment 
when  he  was  so  much  displeased.  "  If,"  said  she,  "  Moreau 
had  been  condemned,  I  should  feel  more  hopeful  of  our 
success ;  but  he  is  in  such  a  rage  that  I  am  afraid  he  will 
turn  us  away,  and  be  angry  with  you  for  what  you  are  going 
to  make  me  do." 

I  was  too  much  moved  by  the  tears  and  the  condition  of 
Mme.  de  Polignac  to  be  influenced  by  such  a  consideration, 
and  I  did  my  best  to  make  the  Empress  realize  the  impres- 
sion which  these  sentences  had  produced  in  Paris.  I  re- 
minded her  of  the  death  of  the  Due  d'Enghien,  of  Bona- 
parte's 'elevation  to  the  imperial  throne  in  the  midst  of 
sanguinary  punishments,  and  pointed  out  to  her  that  the 
general  alarm  would  be  allayed  by  one  act  of  clemency 
which  might,  at  least,  be  quoted  side  by  side  with  so  many 
acts  of  severity. 

While  I  was  speaking  to  the  Empress  with  all  the  warmth 
and  earnestness  of  which  I  was  capable,  and  with  streaming 
tears,  the  Emperor  suddenly  entered  the  room  from  the 
terrace  outside ;  this  he  frequently  did  of  a  morning,  when 
he  would  leave  his  work,  and  come  through  the  glass  door 
into  his  wife's  room  for  a  little  talk  with  her.  He  instantly 
perceived  our  agitation,  and,  although  at  another  moment  I 
should  have  been  taken  aback  at  his  unlooked-for  presence, 
the  profound  emotion  which  I  felt  overcame  all  other  con- 
siderations, and  I  replied  to  his  questions  with  a  frank 


CONDEMNATION  OF  M.  DE  POLIGNAC.          185 

avowal  of  what  I  had  ventured  to  do.  The  Empress,  who 
was  closely  observing  his  countenance,  seeing  the  sever.e  look 
that  overcast  it,  did  not  hesitate  to  come  to  my  aid  by  tell- 
ing him  that  she  had  already  consented  to  receive  Mme.  de 
Polignac. 

The  Emperor  began  by  refusing  to  listen  to  us,  and  com- 
plaining that  we  were  putting  him  in  for  all  the  difficulty  of 
a  position  which  would  give  him  the  appearance  of  cruelty. 
"  I  will  not  see  this  woman,"  he  said  to  me.  "  I  can  not 
grant  a  pardon.  You  do  not  see  that  this  Royalist  party  is 
full  of  young  fools,  who  will  begin  again  with  this  kind  of 
thing,  and  keep  on  at  it,  if  they  are  not  kept  within  bounds 
by  a  severe  lesson.  The  Bourbons  are  credulous ;  they  be- 
lieve the  assurances  which  they  get  from  schemers  who  de- 
ceive them  respecting  the  real  state  of  the  public  mind  of 
France,  'and  they  will  send  a  lot  of  victims  over  here." 

This  answer  did  not  stop  me ;  I  was  extremely  excited, 
partly  by  the  event  itself,  and  perhaps  also  by  the  slight  risk 
I  was  running  of  displeasing  my  formidable  master.  I  would 
not  be  so  cowardly  in  my  own  eyes  as  to  retreat  before  any 
personal  consideration,  and  that  feeling  made  me  bold  and 
tenacious.  I  insisted  so  strongly,  and  entreated  with  such 
earnestness,  that  the  Emperor,  who  was  walking  hurriedly 
about  the  room  while  I  was  speaking,  suddenly  paused  oppo- 
site to  me,  and,  fixing  a  piercing  gaze  on  me,  said :  "  What 
personal  interest  do  you  take  in  these  people  ?  You  are  not 
excusable  except  they  are  your  relatives." 

"  Sire,"  I  answered,  with  all  the  firmness  I  could  sum- 
mon up,  "  I  do  not  know  them,  and  until  yesterday  I  had 
never  seen  Mme.  de  Polignac."  "  What !  And  you  thus 
plead  the  cause  of  people  who  came  here  to  assassinate  me  ? " 
"  No,  sire ;  I  plead  the  cause  of  an  unfortunate  woman  who 
is  in  despair,  and — I  must  say  it — I  plead  your  own  cause 
too."  And  then,  quite  carried  away  by  my  feelings,  I  re- 
peated all  that  I  had  said  to  the  Empress.  She  was  as  much 
affected  as  myself,  and  warmly  seconded  all  I  said.  But  we 


186  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  K&MUSAT. 

could  obtain  nothing  from  the  Emperor  at  that  moment ;  he 
went  angrily  away,  telling  us  not  to  "  worry  "  him  any  more. 

A  few  minutes  afterward  I  was  informed  that  Mme.  de 
Polignac  had  arrived.  The  Empress  received  her  in  a  pri- 
vate room,  and  promised  that  she  would  do  everything  in 
her  power  to  obtain  a  pardon  for  the  Due  de  Polignac.  Dur- 
ing the  course  of  that  morning,  certainly  one  of  the  most 
agitating  I  have  ever  lived  through,  the  Empress  went  twice 
into  her  husband's  cabinet,  and  twice  had  to  leave  it,  repulsed. 
Each  time  she  returned  to  me,  quite  disheartened,  and  I  was 
losing  hope  and  beginning  to  tremble  at  the  prospect  of  hav- 
ing to  take  a  refusal  to  Mme.  de  Polignac  as  the  final  answer. 
At  length  we  learned  that  M.  de  Talleyrand  was  with  the 
Emperor,  and  I  besought  the  Empress  to  make  one  last  at- 
tempt, thinking  that,  if  M.  de  Talleyrand  were  a  witness  to 
it,  he  would  endeavor  to  persuade  Bonaparte.  And,  in  fact, 
he  did  second  the  Empress .  at  once  and  strongly ;  and  at 
length  Bonaparte,  vanquished  by  their  supplications,  consent- 
ed to  allow  Mme.  de  Polignac  to  appear  before  him.  This 
was  promising  everything ;  it  would  have  been  impossible  to 
utter  a  cruel  "  No  ! "  in  such  a  presence.  Mme.  de  Polignac 
was  ushered  into  the  cabinet,  and  fell  fainting  at  the  Emper- 
or's feet.  The  Empress  was  in  tears ;  the  pardon  of  the  Due 
de  Polignac  was  granted,  and  an  article  written  by  M.  de 
Talleyrand  gave  a  charming  account  of  the  scene,  in  what 
was  then  called  the  "  Journal  de  1'Empire,"  on  the  following 
day. 

M.  de  Talleyrand,  on  leaving  the  Emperor's  cabinet, 
found  me  in  the  Empress's  boudoir,  and  related  to  me  all 
that  had  occurred.  He  made  me  cry  afresh,  and  he  was  far 
from  being  unmoved  himself ;  but,  nevertheless,  he  also  made 
me  laugh  by  his  recital  of  an  absurd  little  circumstance  which 
had  not  escaped  his  keen  perception  of  the  ridiculous.  Poor 
Mme.  Daudlau,  who  had  accompanied  her  niece,  and  wanted 
to  produce  her  own  particular  little  effect,  kept  on  repeating, 
in  the  midst  of  her  efforts  to  revive  Mme.  de  Polignac — who 


PARDON  OF  M.  DE  POLIGNAC.  187 

was  restored  to  consciousness  with  great  difficulty — "  Sire,  I 
am  the  daughter  of  Helvetius  ! " 

The  Due  de  Polignac's  sentence  was  commuted  to  four 
years'  imprisonment,  to  be  followed  by  banishment.  He  was 
sent  to  join  his  brother,  and,  after  having  been  confined  in  a 
fortress,  they  were  removed  to  a  civil  prison,  whence  they 
escaped  during  the  campaign  of  1814.  The  Due  de  Kovigo 
(Fouche*),  who  was  then  Minister  of  Police,  was  suspected  of 
having  connived  at  their  escape,  in  order  to  curry  favor  with 
the  party  whose  approaching  triumph  he  foresaw. 

I  have  no  desire  to  make  more  of  myself  on  this  occasion 
than  I  strictly  deserve,  but  I  think  it  will  be  admitted  that 
circumstances  so  fell  out  as  to  permit  me  to  render  a  very 
substantial  service  to  the  Polignac  family — one  of  which  it 
would  seem  natural  that  they  should  have  preserved  some 
recollection.  Since  the  return  of  the  King  to  France,  I 
have,  however,  been  taught  by  experience  how  effectually 
party  spirit,  especially  among  courtiers,  effaces  all  senti- 
ments of  which  it  disapproves,  no  matter  how  just  they 
may  be. 

After  the  incident  which  I  have  just  related,  I  received 
a  few  visits  from  Mme.  de  Polignac,  who  doubtless  held  her- 
self bound  to  so  much  recognition  of  me ;  but,  by  degrees, 
as  we  lived  in  different  circles,  we  lost  sight  of  each  other  for 
some  years,  until  the  Restoration.  At  that  epoch  the  Due 
de  Polignac,  having  been  sent  by  the  King  to  Malmaison  to 
thank  the  Empress  Josephine  in  his  Majesty's  name  for  her 
zealous  efforts  to  save  the  life  of  the  Due  d'Enghien,  took 
advantage  of  the  opportunity  to  express  his  own  gratitude  to 
her  at  the  same  time.  The  Empress  informed  me  of  this 
visit,  and  said  that  no  doubt  the  Duke  would  also  call  on 
me ;  and  I  confess  that  I  expected  some  polite  recognition 
from  him.  I  did  not  receive  any  ;  and,  as  it  was  not  accord- 
ing to  my  notions  to  endeavor  to  arouse  by  any  words  of 
mine  gratitude  which  could  only  be  valuable  by  being  volun- 
tary, I  remained  quietly  at  home,  and  made  no  reference  to 


188  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  RtiMUSAT. 

an  event  which  the  persons  concerned  in  it  seemed  to  wish  to 
forget,  or  at  least  to  ignore. 

One  evening  chance  brought  me  in  contact  with  Mme. 
de  Polignac.  It  was  at  a  reception  at  the  house  of  the  Due 
d'Orleans,  and  in  the  midst  of  a  great  crowd.  The  Palais 
Royal  was  splendidly  decorated,  all  the  French  nobility  were 
assembled  there,  and  the  grands  seigneurs  and  high-born  gen- 
tlemen to  whom  the  Restoration  at  first  seemed  to  mean  the 
restoration  of  their  former  rights,  accosted  each  other  with 
the  easy,  secure,  and  satisfied  manner  so  readily  resumed  with 
success.  Amid  this  brilliant  crowd  I  perceived  the  Duchesse 
de  Polignac.  After  long  years  I  found  her  again,  restored 
to  her  rank,  receiving  all  those  congratulations  which  were 
due  to  her,  surrounded  by  an  adulatory  crowd.  I  recalled 
the  day  on  which  I  first  saw  her,  the  state  she  was  then  in, 
her  tears,  her  terror,  the  way  in  which  she  came  toward  me 
when  she  entered  iny  room,  and  almost  fell  at  my  feet.  I 
was  deeply  moved  by  this  contrast,  and,  being  only  a  few 
paces  from  her,  the  interest  with  which  she  inspired  me  led 
me  to  approach  her.  I  addressed  her  in  a  tone  of  voice 
which,  no  doubt,  fully  conveyed  the  really  tender  feeling  of 
the  moment,  and  congratulated  her  on  the  very  different  cir- 
cumstances under  which  we  met  again.  All  I  would  have 
asked  of  her  was  a  word  of  remembrance,  which  would  have 
responded  to  the  emotion  I  felt  on  her  account.  This  feeling 
was  speedily  chilled  by  the  indifference  and  constraint  with 
which  she  listened  to  what  I  said.  She  either  did  not  recog- 
nize me,  or  she  affected  not  to  do  so ;  I  had  to  give  my  name. 
Her  embarrassment  increased.  On  perceiving  this  I  imme- 
diately turned  away,  and  with  very  painful  feelings ;  for  those 
which  her  presence  had  caused,  and  which  I  had  thought  at 
first  she  would  share,  were  rudely  dispelled. 

The  Empress's  goodness  in  obtaining  a  remission  of  the 
capital  sentence  for  M.  de  Polignac  made  a  great  sensation 
in  Paris,  and  gave  rise  to  renewed  praise  of  her  kindness  of 
heart,  which  had  obtained  almost  universal  recognition.  The 


PARDON  OF  THE  MARQUIS  DE  RIVIERE.        189 

wives,  or  mothers,  or  sisters  of  the  other  political  offenders 
immediately  besieged  the  palace  of  Saint  Cloud,  and  en- 
deavored to  obtain  audience  of  the  Empress,  hoping  to  enlist 
her  sympathy.  Applications  were  also  made  to  her  daughter, 
and  they  both  obtained  further  pardons  or  commutations  of 
sentence.  The  Emperor  felt  that  a  dark  shadow  would  be 
cast  on  his  accession  to  the  throne  by  so  many  executions, 
and  showed  himself  accessible  to  the  petitions  addressed  to 
him. 

His  sisters,  who  were  by  no  means  included  in  the  popu- 
larity of  the  Empress,  and  were  anxious  to  obtain  if  possible 
some  public  favor  for  themselves,  gave  the  wives  of  some  of 
the  condemned  men  to  understand  that  they  might  apply  to 
them  also.  They  then  took  the  petitioners  in  their  own  car- 
riages to  Saint  Cloud,  in  a  sort  of  semi-state,  to  entreat  par- 
don for  their  husbands.  These  proceedings,  as  to  which  the 
Emperor,  I  believe,  had  been  consulted  beforehand,  seemed 
less  spontaneous  than  those  of  the  Empress — indeed,  bore 
signs  of  prearrangement ;  but  at  any  rate  they  served  to  save 
the  lives  of  several  persons.  Murat,  who  had  excited  uni- 
versal indignation  by  his  violent  behavior  and  by  his  hostility 
to  Moreau,  also  tried  to  regain  popularity  by  similar  devices, 
and  did  in  fact  obtain  a  pardon  for  the  Marquis  de  Riviere. 
On  the  same  occasion  he  brought  a  letter  from  Georges  Ca- 
doudal  to  Bonaparte,  which  I  heard  read.  It  was  a  manly 
and  outspoken  letter,  such  as  might  be  penned  by  a  man 
who,  being  convinced  that  the  deeds  he  has  done,  and  which 
have  proved  his  destruction,  were  dictated  by  a  generous 
sense  of  duty  and  an  unchangeable  resolution,  is  resigned  to 
his  fate.  Bonaparte  was  deeply  impressed  by  this  letter,  and 
again  expressed  his  regret  that  he  could  not  extend  clemency 
to  Georges  Cadoudal. 

This  man,  the  real  head  of  the  conspiracy,  died  with  un- 
shaken courage.  Twenty  had  been  condemned  to  death. 
The  capital  sentence  was,  in  the  cases  of  seven,  commuted  to 
a  more  or  less  prolonged  imprisonment.  Their  names  are  as 


190  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  B^MUSAT. 

follows :  the  Due  de  Polignac,  the  Marquis  de  Riviere,  Rus- 
sillon,  Kochelle,  D'Hozier,  Lajollais,  Guillard.  The  others 
were  executed.  General  Moreau  was  taken  to  Bordeaux, 
and  put  on  board  a  ship  for  the  United  States.  His  family 
sold  their  property  by  Imperial  command  ;  the  Emperor 
bought  a  portion  of  it,  and  bestowed  the  estate  of  Grosbois 
on  Marshal  Berthier. 

A  few  days  later,  the  "Moniteur"  published  a  protest 
from  Louis  XVIII.  against  the  accession  of  Napoleon.  It 
appeared  on  July  1,  1804,  but  produced  little  effect.  The 
Cadoudal  conspiracy  had  weakened  the  faint  sentiment  -of 
barely  surviving  allegiance  to  the  old  dynasty.  The  plot 
had,  in  fact,  been  so  badly  conceived ;  it  seemed  to  be  based 
on  such  total  ignorance  of  the  internal  state  of  France,  and 
of  the  opinions  of  the  various  parties  in  the  country ;  the 
names  and  the  characters  of  the  conspirators  inspired  so  lit- 
tle confidence ;  and,  above  all,  the  further  disturbances  whieh 
must  have  resulted  from  any  great  change,  were  so  univer- 
sally dreaded  that,  with  the  exception  of  a  small  number  of 
gentlemen  whose  interests  would  be  served  by  the  renewal  of 
an  abolished  state  of  things,  there  was  in  France  no  regret 
for  a  result  which  served  to  strengthen  the  newly  inaugu- 
rated system.  Whether  from  conviction,  or  from  a  longing 
for  repose,  or  from  yielding  'to  the  sway  of  the  great  fortunes 
of  the  new  Head  of  the  State,  many  gave  in  their  adhesion 
to  his  sovereignty,  and  from  this  time  forth  France  assumed 
a  peaceful  and  orderly  attitude.  The  opposing  factions  be- 
came disheartened,  and,  as  commonly  happens  when  this  is 
the  case,  each  individual  belonging  to  them  made  secret  at- 
temps  to  link  his  lot  to  the  chances  offered  by  a  totally  new 
system.  Gentle  and  simple,  Royalists  and  Liberals,  all  be- 
gan to  scheme  for  advancement.  New  ambitions  and  vani- 
ties were  aroused,  and  favors  solicited  in  every  direction. 
Bonaparte  beheld  those  on  whom  he  could  least  have  counted 
suing  for  the  honor  of  serving  him. 

Meanwhile  he  was  not  in  haste  to  choose  from  among 


A  RESPITE  FROM  COURT  LIFE. 

them ;  he  delayed  a  long  time,  in  order  to  feed  their  hopes 
and  to  increase  the  number  of  aspirants.  During  this  respite, 
I  left  the  Court  for  a  little  breathing-time  in  the  country. 
I  staid  for  a  month  in  the  valley  of  Montmorency,  with 
Mme.  d'Houdetot,  of  whom  I  have  already  spoken.  The 
quiet  life  I  led  in  her  house  was  refreshing  after  the  anxie- 
ties and  annoyances  which  I  had  recently  had  to  endure 
almost  uninterruptedly.  I  needed  this  interval  of  rest ;  iny 
health,  which  since  that  time  has  always  been  more  or  less 
delicate,  was  beginning  to  fail,  and  my  spirits  were  depressed 
by  the  new  aspect  of  events,  and  by  discoveries  I  was  slowly 
making  about  things  in  general,  and  about  certain  great  per- 
sonages in  particular.  The  gilded  veil  which  Bonaparte  used 
to  say  hung  before  the  eyes  of  youth  was  beginning  to  lose 
its  brightness,  and  I  became  aware  of  the  fact  with  astonish- 
ment, which  always  causes  more  or  less  suffering,  until  time 
and  experience  have  made  us  wiser  and  taught  us  to  take 
things  more  easily. 

IT 


CHAPTER  IX. 

(1804.) 

Plans  for  the  Invasion — An  Article  in  the  "Moniteur" — The  Great  Officers  of 
State — The  Ladies-in- Waiting — The  Anniversary  of  July  14th — Beauty  of  the 
Empress— Projects  of  Divorce— Preparations  for  the  Coronation. 

BY  degrees  the  flotillas  built  in  our  other  harbors  came 
round  to  join  those  of  Boulogne.  They  sometimes  met  with 
obstacles  on  the  way,  for  English  vessels  were  always  cruis- 
ing about  the  coast  to  prevent  their  junction.  The  camps  at 
Boulogne,  at  Montreuil,  and  at  Compiegne  presented  an  im- 
posing appearance,  and  the  army  became  daily  more  numer- 
ous and  more  formidable. 

There  is  no  doubt  that  these  preparations  for  war,  and 
the  comments  which  were  made  upon  them  in  Paris,  caused 
some  anxiety  in  Europe;  for  an  article  appeared  in  the 
newspapers  which  created  no  great  impression  at  the  time, 
but  which  I  considered  to  be  worth  preserving,  because  it 
was  an  exact  forecast  of  all  that  has  since  occurred.  It  ap- 
peared in  the  "  Moniteur "  of  July  10,  1804,  on  the  same 
day  with  an  account  of  the  audience  given  by  the  Emperor 
to  all  the  ambassadors  who  had  just  received  fresh  creden- 
tials to  his  Court.  Some  of  the  latter  contained  nattering 
expressions  from  foreign  sovereigns  on  his  accession  to  the 
throne. 

This  is  the  article  : 

"  From  time  immemorial,  the  metropolis  has  been  the 
home  of  hearsay  (les  on  dif).  A  new  rumor  springs  up  every 
day,  to  be  contradicted  on  the  next.  Although  there  has 


AN  ARTICLE  IN  THE  "MONITEUR."  193 

been  of  late  more  activity,  and  a  certain  persistence  in  these 
reports  which  gratify  idle  curiosity,  we  think  it  more  desira- 
ble to  leave  them  to  time,  and  that  wisest  of  all  possible  re- 
plies, silence !  Besides,  what  sensible  Frenchman,  really  in- 
terested in  discovering  the  truth,  will  fail  to  recognize  in  the 
current  rumors  the  offspring  of  malignity  more  or  less  inter- 
ested in  their  circulation  ? 

"  In  a  country  where  so  large  a  number  of  men  are  well 
aware  of  existing  facts,  and  are  able  to  judge  of  those  which 
do  not  exist,  if  any  one  imagines  that  current  rumors  ought 
to  cause  him  real  anxiety,  if  a  credulous  confidence  in  them 
influences  his  commercial  enterprises  or  his  personal  interests, 
either  his  error  is  not  a  lasting  one,  or  he  must  lay  the  blame 
on  his  own  want  of  reflection. 

"  But  foreigners,  persons  attached  to  diplomatic  missions, 
not  having  the  same  means  of  judging,  nor  the  same  knowl- 
edge of  the  country,  are  often  deceived ;  and,  although  for  a 
long  time  past  they  have  had  opportunities  of  observing  how 
invariably  every  event  gives  the  lie  to  current  gossip,  they 
nevertheless  repeat  it  in  foreign  countries,  and  thus  give  rise 
to  most  erroneous  notions  about  France.  "We  therefore  think 
it  advisable  to  say  a  few  words  in  this  journal  on  the  subject 
of  political  gossip. 

"It  is  said  that  the  Emperor  is  about  to  unite  the  Italian 
republic,  the  Ligurian  republic,  the  republic  of  Lucca,  the 
kingdom  of  Etruria,  the  Papal  States,  and,  by  a  necessary 
consequence,  Naples  and  Sicily,  under  his  own  rule.  It  is 
said  that  the  same  fate  is  reserved  for  Switzerland  and  Hol- 
land. It  is  said  that,  by  annexing  Hanover,  the  Emperor 
will  be  enabled  to  become  a  member  of  the  Germanic  Con- 
federation. 

"  Many  deductions  are  drawn  from  these  suppositions ; 
and  the  first  we  remark  is  that  the  Pope  will  abdicate,  and 
that  Cardinal  Fesch  or  Cardinal  Euffo  will  be  raised  to  the 
Pontifical  Throne. 

"  We  have  already  said,  and  we  repeat  it,  that  if  the  in- 


194  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R&MUSAT. 

fiuence  of  France  were  to  be  exerted  in  any  changes  affecting 
the  Sovereign  Pontiff,  it  would  be  exerted  for  the  welfare  of 
the  Holy  Father,  and  to  increase  the  respect  due  to  the  Holy 
See  and  its  possessions,  rather  than  to  diminish  it. 

"  As  to  the  kingdom  of  Naples,  Mr.  Acton's  aggressive 
action  and  his  constantly  hostile  policy  might  in  former  times 
have  afforded  France  a  legitimate  cause  of  war,  which  she 
would  never  have  undertaken  with  the  intention  of  uniting 
the  Two  Sicilies  to  the  French  Empire. 

"  The  Italian  and  Ligurian  republics  and  the  kingdom  of 
Etruria  will  not  cease  to  exist  as  independent  States,  and  it 
is  surely  very  unlikely  that  the  Emperor  would  disown  both 
the  duties  attached  to  the  authority  which  he  derives  from 
the  comitia  of  Lyons,  and  the  personal  glory  he  has  acquired 
by  twice  restoring  to  independence  the  States  which  twice 
he  has  conquered. 

"  We  may  ask,  as  regards  Switzerland,  who  prevented  its 
annexation  to  France  before  the  Act  of  Mediation  ?  This 
Act,  the  immediate  result  of  care  and  thought  on  the  part  of 
the  Emperor,  has  restored  tranquillity  to  those  peoples,  and 
is  a  guarantee  of  their  independence  and  security,  so  long  as 
they  themselves  do  not  destroy  this  guarantee  by  substitut- 
ing the  will  of  one  of  their  constituent  corporations,  or  that 
of  a  party,  for  the  elements  of  which  it  is  composed. 

"Had  France- desired  to  annex  Holland,  Holland  would 
now  be  French,  like  Belgium.  That  she  is  an  independent 
power  is  because  France  felt  with  regard  to  that  country,  as 
she  felt  in  the  case  of  Switzerland,  that  the  localities  required 
an  individual  existence  and  a  particular  kind  of  organization. 

"  A  still  more  absurd  supposition  is  entertained  respect- 
ing Hanover.  The  annexation  of  that  province  would  be 
the  most  fatal  gift  that  could  be  made  to  France,  and  no 
lengthened  consideration  of  the  matter  is  needed  in  order  to 
perceive  this.  Hanover  would  become  a  cause  of  rivalry 
between  the  French  nation  and  that  prince  who  was  the  ally 
and  friend  of  France  at  a  time  when  all  Europe  was  in  coa- 


AN  ARTICLE  IN  THE  "MONITEUR."  195 

lition  against  her.  In  order  to  retain  Hanover,  it  would  be 
necessary  to  keep  up  a  military  force  at  a  cost  out  of  all  pro- 
portion to  the  few  millions  which  constitute  the  whole  of  the 
revenues  of  that  country.  Will  that  Government  which  has 
made  sacrifices  in  order  to  maintain  the  principle  that  a  sim- 
ple and  continuous  frontier-line,  even  as  far  as  the  fortifi- 
cations of  Strasbourg  and  of  Mayence  on  the  right  bank,  is 
necessary,  be  so  shortsighted  as  to  wish  for  the  incorporation 
of  Hanover  ? 

"  But,  it  is  said,  the  advantage  of  belonging  to  the  Ger- 
manic Confederation  depends  on  the  possession  of  Hanover. 
The  mere  title  of  Emperor  of  the  French  is  sufficient  answer 
to  this  singular  idea.  The  Germanic  Confederation  is  com- 
posed of  kings,  electors,  and  princes,  and  it  recognizes,  in  re- 
lation to  itself,  but  one  imperial  dignity.  It  would  be  to 
misjudge  the  noble  pride  of  our  country  to  suppose  she 
would  ever  consent  to  become  an  element  in  any  other  con- 
federation, even  had  such  a  thing  been  compatible  with  na- 
tional dignity.  What  could  have  prevented  France  from  main- 
taining her  rights  in  the  circle  of  Burgundy,  or  those  which 
conferred  on  her  the  possession  of  the  Palatinate  ?  We  may 
even  ask,  with  pardonable  pride,  who  was  it  that  prevented 
France  from  keeping  part  of  the  States  of  Baden  and  of  the 
Swabian  territory  ? 

"  No,  France  will  never  cross  the  Ehine !  Nor  will  her 
armies  pass  over  it,  unless  it  become  necessary  for  her  to 
protect  the  German  Empire  and  its  princes,  who  inspire  an 
interest  in  her  because  of  their  attachment  to  her,  and  their 
value  in  the  balance  of  power  in  Europe. 

"  If  these  are  simply  idle  rumors,  we  have  answered  them 
sufficiently.  If  they  owe  their  origin  to  the  anxious  jealousy 
of  foreign  Powers,  who  are  always  crying  out  that  France  is 
ambitious  in  order  to  cloak  their  own  ambition,  there  is  an- 
other answer  to  be  made.  Owing  to  the  two  coalitions  suc- 
cessively entered  into  against  us,  and  to  the  treaties  of  Cam- 
po  Formio  and  Lun6ville,  France  has  no  province  for  her 


196  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R&MUSAT. 

neighbor  which  she  could  wish  to  annex  ;  and,  if  in  the  past 
she  has  displayed  an  example  of  moderation  unexampled  in 
modern  history,  the  result  is  an  advantage  for  her,  inasmuch 
as  she  need  not  henceforth  take  up  arms. 

"  Her  capital  is  in  the  center  of  her  Empire ;  her  fron- 
tiers are  bounded  by  small  States  which  complete  her  politi- 
cal constitution ;  geographically  she  can  desire  nothing  be- 
longing to  her  neighbors — she  is  therefore  naturally  inimical 
to  none ;  and,  as  there  exists  in  her  respect  neither  another 
Finland,  nor  another  River  Inn,  she  is  in  a  position  which 
no  other  Power  enjoys. 

"As  it  is  with  those  rumors  which  try  to  prove  that 
France  is  inordinately  ambitious,  so  it  is  with  others  of  a  dif- 
ferent nature. 

"  Not  long  ago  rebellion  was  in  our  camps.  Two  days 
back  thirty  thousand  Frenchmen  had  refused  to  embark  at 
Boulogne ;  yesterday  our  legions  were  at  war  with  each 
other,  ten  against  ten,  thirty  against  thirty,  flag  against  flag. 
Our  four  Rhenish  departments  were  informed  that  we  were 
about  to  restore  them  to  their  former  ruler.  To-day,  per- 
haps, it  is  said  that  the  public  treasury  is  empty,  that  the 
public  works  have  been  discontinued,  that  discord  prevails 
everywhere,  and  that  the  taxes  are  unpaid.  If  the  Emperor 
starts  for  the  camps,  it  will  be  said,  perhaps,  that  he  is  hur- 
rying thither  to  restore  peace.  In  fact,  whether  he  remains 
at  Saint  Cloud,  or  goes  to  the  Tuileries,  or  lives  at  Malmai- 
son,  there  will  be  opportunities  for  absurd  reports. 

"And  if  these  rumors,  simultaneously  spread  about  in 
foreign  countries,  were  intended  to  cause  alarm  on  account 
of  the  ambition  of  the  Emperor,  and  at  the  same  time  to 
encourage  any  unbecoming  and  mistaken  acts,  by  leading 
people  to  hope  that  his  Government  is  weak,  we  can  but  re- 
peat the  words  that  a  Minister  was  instructed  to  utter  on 
leaving  a  certain  Court :  '  The  Emperor  of  the  French  de- 
sires war  with  no  one,  whosoever  he  may  be ;  he  dreads 
war  with  no  one.  He  does  not  meddle  with  his  neigh- 


THE  GREAT  OFFICERS  OF  STATE.  197 

bors'  business,  and  he  has  a  right  to  similar  treatment.  He 
has  always  manifested  a  wish  for  a  durable  peace,  but  the 
history  of  his  life  does  not  justify  us  in  thinking  that  he  will 
suffer  himself  to  be  insulted  or  despised.' r 

After  a  refreshing  sojourn  in  the  country,  I  came  back 
once  more  to  the  whirl  of  Court  life,  where  the  fever  of 
vanity  seemed  every  day  to  lay  stronger  hold  of  us. 

The  Emperor  now  appointed  the  great  officers  of  the 
household.  General  Duroc  was  made  Grand  Marshal  of 
the  Palace  ;  Berthier,  Master  of  the  Hunt  (Grand  Veneivr) ; 
M.  de  Talleyrand,  Grand  Chamberlain;  Cardinal  Fesch,. 
High  Almoner;  M.  de  Caulaincourt,  Grand  Equerry;  and 
M.  de  Segur,  Grand  Master  of  the  Ceremonies.  M.  de 
Kemusat  received  the  title  of  First  Chamberlain.  He 
ranked  immediately  next  to  M.  de  Talleyrand,  who  would 
be  chiefly  occupied  by  foreign  affairs,  and  was  to  depnte  my 
husband  to  do  the  greater  part  of  his  duties.  The  matter 
was  thus  arranged  at  first ;  but  soon  after  the  Emperor  ap- 
pointed Chamberlains  in  Ordinary.  Among  them  were  the 
Baron  de  Talleyrand  (a  nephew  of  the  Grand  Chamberlain), 
some  senators,  some  Belgian  gentlemen  of  high  birth,  and,  a 
little  later,  some  French  gentlemen  also. 

With  these  began  little  emulations  as  to  precedence,  and 
discontent  on  account  of  distinctions  which  were  withheld 
from  them.  M.  de  Kemusat  found  himself  exposed  to  con- 
tinual envy,  and  as  it  were  at  war  with  these  personages.  I 
am  now  ashamed  when  I  recall  the  annoyance  which  all  this 
caused  me ;  but  whatever  the  Court  in  which  one  lives — and 
ours  had  become  a  very  real  one — it  is  impossible  not  to 
attach  importance  to  the  trifles  of  which  it  is  composed. 
An  honorable  and  sensible  man  is  often  ashamed  in  his  own 
eyes  of  the  pleasure  or  annoyance  which  he  experiences  in 
the  profession  of  a  courtier,  and  yet  he  can  scarcely  avoid 
either  the  one  or  the  other.  A  ribbon,  a  slight  difference  in 
dress,  permission  to  pass  through  a  particular  door,  the 
entree  to  such  or  such  a  salon — these  are  the  pitiful  causes 


198  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R&MUSAT. 

of  a  constantly  recurring  vexation.  In  vain  do  we  try  to 
harden  ourselves  against  them.  The  importance  in  which 
they  are  held  by  a  great  number  of  persons  obliges  us,  in 
spite  of  ourselves,  to  prize  them.  In  vain  do  sense  and  rea- 
son rebel  against  such  a  use  of  human  faculties ;  however 
dissatisfied  we  may  feel  with  ourselves,  we  must  needs  be- 
come as  small-minded  as  everybody,  else,  and  either  fly  the 
Court  altogether,  or  consent  to  take  seriously  all  the  follies 
that  fill  the  very  air  we  breathe. 

The  Emperor  added  to  the  difficulties  inseparable  from 
the  regulations  of  a  palace  those  of  his  own  temper.  He 
enforced  etiquette  with  the  strictness  of  martial  law.  Cere- 
monies were  gone  through  as  though  by  beat  of  drum; 
everything  was  done  at  double-quick  time;  and  the  per- 
petual hurry,  the  constant  fear  that  Bonaparte  inspired, 
added  to  the  unf  amiliarity  of  a  good  half  of  his  courtiers 
with  formalities  of  the  kind,  rendered  the  Court  dull  rather 
than  dignified.  Every  countenance  wore  an  expression  of 
uneasiness  and  solicitude  in  the  midst  of  all  the  magnificence 
with  which  his  ostentatious  tastes  led  the  Emperor  to  sur- 
round himself. 

Mme.  de  la  Eochefoucauld,  who  was  the  Empress's 
cousin,  was  appointed  her  Lady  of  Honor,  and  Mme.  de  la 
Fayette  Lady  of  the  Bedchamber.  Twelve  Ladies-in-Wait- 
ing  were  nominated,  and  by  degrees  the  number  of  these 
was  augmented.  Many  great  ladies  from  different  parts  of 
the  country  were  included  in  the  list,  persons  who  were 
much  surprised  at  finding  themselves  in  each  other's  society. 
Without  entering  into  any  details  here,  which  would  now 
serve  no  good  purpose,  I  may  mention  that  applications 
were  then  made  by  persons  who  now  affect  a  strict  royalism, 
hardly  compatible  with  the  opinions  they  then  professed. 
It  ought  to  be  frankly  admitted  that  all  classes  wanted  to 
have  their  share  of  these  new  creations,  and  I  could  point 
to  several  persons  who,  after  having  blamed  me  because  I 
came  to  the  First  Consul's  Court  in  consequence  of  an  old 


THE  ANNIVERSARY  OF  JULY  14th.  199 

friendship,  spared  no  efforts  on  their  own  part  to  obtain 
places  at  that  of  the  Emperor,  from  ambitious  motives. 

As  for  the  Empress,  she  was  delighted  to  find  herself 
surrounded  by  a  numerous  suite,  and  one  so  gratifying  to 
her  vanity.  The  victory  she  had  won  over  Mme.  de  la 
Rochefoucauld  by  attaching  her  to  her  person,  the  pleasure 
of  reckoning  M.  d'Aubusson  de  la  Feuillade  among  her 
Chamberlains,  Mme.  d'Arberg  de  Segur  and  the  Mare*chales 
among  her  Ladies-in-Waiting,  intoxicated  her  a  little ;  but  I 
must  admit  that  this  essentially  feminine  feeling  deprived 
her  of  none  of  her  accustomed  grace  and  kindliness.  The 
Empress  always  knew  perfectly  well  how  to  preserve  the 
supremacy  of  her  own  rank,  while  showing  polite  deference 
toward  those  men  or  women  who  added  to  the  splendor  of 
her  Court  by  their  personal  distinction. 

At  this  time  the  "  Ministry  of  General  Police "  was  re- 
constructed, and  Fouche  was  once  more  placed  at  its  head. 

The  18th  Brumaire  was  the  date  at  first  fixed  for  the 
coronation,  and  in  the  mean  time,  to  show  that  the  revolu- 
tionary epochs  were  not  to  be  disregarded,  the  Emperor  re- 
paired in  great  pomp  to  the  Invalides  on  the  14th  of  July, 
and,  after  having  heard  mass,  distributed  the  Cross  of  the 
Legion  of  Honor  to  a  number  of  persons  selected  from  all 
classes  comprised  in  the  Government,  the  army,  and  the 
Court.  I  must  not  omit  to  record  that  on  this  occasion  the 
Empress  looked  young  and  lovely  among  all  the  youthful 
and  handsome  women  by  whom  she  was  surrounded  for  the 
first  time  in  public.  Her  costume  was  admirably  selected 
and  in  perfect  taste.  The  ceremony  took  place  under  burn- 
ing sunshine.  She  appeared  in  broad  daylight,  attired  in  a 
robe  of  rose-colored  tulle,  spangled  with  silver  stars,  and  cut 
very  low,  according  to  the  fashion  of  the  day.  Her  head- 
dress consisted  of  a  great  number  of  diamond  wheat-ears. 
This  brilliant  attire,  the  elegance  of  her  bearing,  the  charm 
of  her  smile,  the  sweetness  of  her  countenance,  produced 
such  an  effect,  that  I  heard  many  persons  who  were  present 


200  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  RtiMUSAT. 

at  the  ceremony  say  that  the  Empress  outshone  all  the  ladies 
of  her  suite. 

A  few  days  afterward  the  Emperor  set  out  for  the  camp 
at  Boulogne,  and,  if  public  rumor  was  to  be  believed,  the 
English  began  to  feel  really  alarmed  at  the  prospect  of  an 
invasion. 

He  passed  more  than  a  month  in  inspecting  the  coasts 
and  reviewing  the  troops  in  the  various  camps.  The  army 
was  at  that  time  numerous,  flourishing,  and  animated  by  the 
best  spirit.  He  was  present  at  several  engagements  between 
the  vessels  which  were  blockading  us  and  our  flotillas,  which 
by  this  time  had  a  formidable  aspect. 

While  engaged  in  these  military  occupations,  he  fixed, 
by  several  decrees,  the  precedence  and  the  rank  of  the  va- 
rious authorities  which  he  had  created ;  for  his  mind  em- 
braced every  topic  at  once.  He  had  already  formed  a  pri- 
vate intention  of  asking  the  Pope  to  crown  him,  and,  in 
order  to  carry  this  out,  he  neglected  neither  that  address  by 
which  he  might  amicably  carry  his  point,  nor  certain  mea- 
sures by  which  he  might  be  able  to  render  a  refusal  exceed- 
ingly difficult.  He  sent  the  Cross  of  the  Legion  of  Honor  to 
Cardinal  Caprara,  the  Pope's  legate,  and  accompanied  the 
distinction  by  words  equally  flattering  to  the  Sovereign  Pon- 
tiff and  promising  for  the  reestablishment  of  religion.  These 
fine  phrases  appeared  in  the  "Moniteur."  Nevertheless, 
when  he  communicated  his  project  of  confirming  his  eleva- 
tion by  so  solemn  a  religious  ceremony  to  the  Council  of 
State,  he  had  to  encounter  determined  opposition  from  cer- 
tain of  his  councilors.  Treilhard,  among  others,  resisted  the 
proposal  strongly.  The  Emperor  allowed  him  to  speak,  and 
then  replied :  "  You  do  not  know  the  ground  we  are  standing 
on  so  well  as  I  know  it.  Let  me  tell  you  that  religion  has 
lost  much  less  of  its  power  than  you  think.  You  do  not 
know  all  that  I  effect  by  means  of  the  priests  whom  I  have 
gained  over.  There  are  thirty  departments  in  France  suffi- 
ciently religious  to  make  me  very  glad  that  I  am  not  obliged 


MME.  DE  LA  ROCHEFOUCAULD.  201 

to  dispute  with  the  Pope  for  power  in  them.  It  is  only  by 
committing  every  other  authority  in  succession  to  mine  that 
I  shall  secure  my  own,  that  is  to  say,  the  authority  of  the 
Revolution,  which  we  all  wish  to  consolidate." 

While  the  Emperor  was  inspecting  the  ports,  the  Em- 
press went  to  Aix-la-Chapelle%to  drink  the  waters.  She  was 
accompanied  by  some  of  her  new  household,  and  M.  de 
Remusat  was  ordered  to  follow  her,  and  to  await  the  Em- 
peror, who  was  to  rejoin  her  at  Aix.  I  was  glad  of  this  res- 
pite. I  could  not  disguise  from  myself  that  so  many  new- 
comers were  effacing  by  degrees  her  first  estimate  of  my 
value  to  her,  which  had  owed  much  to  the  non-existence  of 
comparisons ;  and,  although  I  was  yet  young  in  experience 
of  the  world,  I  felt  that  a  short  absence  would  be  useful,  and 
that  I  should  afterward  take,  if  not  the  first  place,  that  of 
my  choice,  and  hold  it  throughout  securely. 

Mme.  de  la  Rochefoucauld,  who  attended  the  Empress, 
was  then  a  woman  of  between  thirty-six  and  forty  years  old, 
short  and  ill-made,  with  a  striking  countenance,  but  only 
ordinary  abilities.  SJie  had  a  great  deal  of  assurance,  like 
most  plain  women  who  have  had  some  success  notwithstand- 
ing their  defects.  She  was  very  lively,  and  not  at  all  ill-na- 
tured. She  proclaimed  her  adherence  to  all  the  opinions  of 
those  who  were  called  "  aristocrats  "  by  the  Revolution ;  and, 
as  she  would  have  been  puzzled  to  reconcile  those  views  with 
her  present  position,  she  made  up  her  mind  to  laugh  at  them, 
and  would  jest  about  herself  with  the  utmost  good  humor. 
The  Emperor  liked  her  because  she  was  quick,  frivolous,  and 
incapable  of  scheming.  Indeed,  no  Court  in  which  women 
were  so  numerous  ever  offered  less  opportunity  for  any  kind 
of  intrigue.  Affairs  of  state  were  absolutely  confined  to  the 
cabinet  of  the  Emperor  only ;  we  were  ignorant  of  them, 
and  we  knew  that  nobody  could  meddle  with  them.  The 
few  persons  in  whom  the  Emperor  confided  were  wholly 
devoted  to  the  execution  of  his  will,  and  absolutely  unap- 
proachable. Duroc,  Savary,  and  Maret  never  allowed  an  un- 


202  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  RtilMUSAT. 

necessary  word  to  escape  them,  confining  themselves  strictly 
to  communicating  to  us  without  delay  such  orders  as  they 
received.  We  were  in  their  sight  and  in  our  own  mere 
machines,  simply  and  solely  doing  those  things  which  we 
were  ordered  to  do,  and  of  about  as  much  importance  as 
the  elegant  articles  of  new  furniture  with  which  the  pal- 
aces of  the  Tuileries  and  Saint  Cloud  were  now  profusely 
adorned. 

I  remarked  at  this  time,  with  some  amusement,  that,  as 
by  degrees  the  grands  seigneurs  of  former  days  came  to 
Court,  they  all  experienced,  no  matter  how  widely  their 
characters  differed,  a  certain  sense  of  disappointment  curious 
to  observe.  When  at  first  they  once  more  breathed  the  air  of 
palaces,  found  themselves  again  among  their  former  associates 
and  in  the  atmosphere  of  their  youth,  beheld  anew  decora- 
tions, throne-rooms,  and  Court  costumes,  and  heard  the  forms 
of  speech  habitual  in  royal  dwellings,  they  yielded  to  the 
delightful  illusion.  They  fondly  believed  that  they  might 
conduct  themselves  as  they  had  been  accustomed  to  do  in  those 
same  palaces,  where  all  but  the  master  remained  unchanged. 
But  a  harsh  word,  a  peremptory  order,  the  pressure  of  an 
arbitrary  will,  soon  reminded  them  roughly  that  everything 
was  new  in  this  unique  Court.  Then  it  was  strange  to  see 
how,  despite  all  their  efforts,  they  lost  their  presence  of  mind, 
feeling  the  ground  uncertain  under  their  feet,  and  became 
constrained  and  uneasy  in  all  their  futile  little  ways.  They 
were  too  vain  or  too  weak  to  substitute  a  grave  bearing,  un- 
like the  manners  of  their  past,  for  their  former  customs,  and 
they  did  not  know  what  course  to  adopt.  The  arts  of  the 
courtier  availed  nothing  with  Bonaparte,  arid  so  profited  them 
not  at  all.  It  was  not  safe  to  remain  a  man  in  his  presence — 
that  is  to  say,  to  preserve  the  use  of  one's  intellectual  facul- 
ties ;  it  was  easier  and  quicker  for  everybody,  or  nearly  every- 
body, to  assume  the  attitude  of  servility.  If  I  chose,  I  could 
tell  exactly  the  individuals  to  whom  such  a  course  came  most 
readily ;  but,  if  I  were  to  go  more  at  length  into  this  subject, 


THE  EMPEROR  AT  AIX-LA-CHAPELLE. 

I  should  give  my  Memoirs  the  color  of  a  satire,  which  is 
neither  acccording  to  niy  taste  nor  my  intention. 

While  the  Emperor  was  at  Boulogne,  he  sent  his  brother 
Joseph  to  Paris,  where  all  the  governing  bodies  presented 
addresses  to  him  and  his  wife.  Thus,  he  assigned  each  per- 
son his  own  place,  and  dictated  supremacy  to  some  and  ser- 
vitude to  others.  On  the  3d  of  September  he  rejoined  his 
wife  at  Aix-la-Chapelle,  and  remained  there  some  days,  hold- 
ing a  brilliant  Court  and  receiving  the  German  Princes. 
During  this  sojourn,  M.  de  Eemusat  was  directed  to  send  to 
Paris  for  the  company  of  the  second  theatre,  then  managed 
by  Picard,  and  several  fetes  were  given  to  the  Electors,  which, 
although  they  did  not  approach  the  magnificence  of  later  oc- 
casions, were  very  splendid.  The  Elector  Arch-Chancellor 
of  the  German  Empire  and  the  Elector  of  Baden  paid  assidu- 
ous court  to  our  sovereigns.  The  Emperor  and  Empress 
visited  Cologne,  and  ascended  the  Rhine  as  far  as  Mayence, 
where  they  were  met  by  a  crowd  of  princes  and  distinguished 
foreigners.  This  excursion  lasted  until  the  month  of  October. 

On  the  14th  Mme.  Louis  Bonaparte  gave  birth  to  a  sec- 
ond son.*  Bonaparte  arrived  in  Paris  a  few  days  later.  This 
event  was  a  great  source  of  happiness  to  the  Empress.  She 
believed  that  it  would  have  a  most  favorable  effect  upon  her 
future,  and  yet  at  that  very  moment  a  new  plot  was  being 
formed  against  her,  which  she  only  succeeded  in  defeating 
after  much  effort  and  mental  suffering. 

Ever  since  we  had  learned  that  the  Pope  would  come  to 
Paris  for  the  coronation  of  the  Emperor,  the  Bonaparte  fam- 
ily had  been  exceedingly  anxious  to  prevent  Mme.  Bonaparte 
from  having  a  personal  share  in  the  ceremony.  The  jealousy 
of  our  Princesses  was  strongly  excited  on  this  point.  It 
seemed  to  them  that  such  an  honor  would  place  too  great  a 

*  The  second  son  of  Queen  Hortense  was  Napoleon  Louis.  This  Prince  died 
suddenly  during  the  insurrection  of  the  Pontifical  States  against  the  Pope,  in 
which  he  took  part.  The  third  son  of  the  Queen,  Napoleon  III.,  was  born  on  the 
20th  of  April,  1808. 


204  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R$MUSAT. 

distance  between  themselves  and  their  sister-in-law,  and,  be- 
sides, dislike  needs  no  motive  of  interest  personal  to  itself  to 
make  anything  which  is  a  gratification  to  its  object  distaste- 
ful. The  Empress  ardently  longed  for  her  coronation,  which 
she  believed  would  establish  her  rank  and  her  security,  and 
the  silence  of  her  husband  alarmed  her.  He  appeared  to  be 
hesitating,  and  Joseph  spared  no  argument  to  induce  him  to 
make  his  wife  merely  a  witness  of  the  ceremony.  He  even 
went  so  far  as  to  revive  the  question  of  the  divorce,  advising 
Bonaparte  to  profit  by  the  approaching  event  to  decide  upon 
it.  He  pointed  out  the  advantage  of  an  alliance  with  some 
foreign  princess,  or  at  least  with  the  heiress  of  a  great  name 
in  France,  and  cleverly  held  out  the  hope  that  such  a  mar- 
riage would  give  him  of  having  a  direct  heir ;  and  he  spoke 
with  all  the  more  chance  of  being  listened  to,  because  he 
insisted  strongly  on  the  personal  disinterestedness  of  advice 
which,  if  taken,  might  remove  himself  from  all  chance  of 
the  succession.  The  Emperor,  incessantly  harassed  by  his 
family,  appeared  to  be  impressed  by  his  brother's  arguments, 
and  a  few  words  which  escaped  him  threw  his  wife  into  ex- 
treme distress.  Her  former  habit  of  confiding  all  her  trou- 
bles to  me  now  led  her  to  restore  me  to  her  confidence.  I 
was  exceedingly  puzzled  how  to  advise  her,  and  not  a  little 
afraid  of  committing  myself  in  so  serious  a  matter.  An  un- 
expected incident  was  near  bringing  about  the  very  thing 
which  we  dreaded. 

For  some  time  Mine.  Bonaparte  had  perceived  an  increase 
of  intimacy  between  her  husband  and  Mme.  de  — — .  In 
vain  did  I  entreat  her  not  to  furnish  the  Emperor  with  a 
pretext  for  a  quarrel,  which  would  be  made  use  of  against 
her.  She  was  too  full  of  her  grievance  to  be  prudent,  and, 
in  spite  of  my  warning,  she  watched  for  an  opportunity  of 
confirming  her  suspicions.  At  Saint  Cloud  the  Emperor 
occupied  the  apartment  which  opens  upon  the  garden,  and  is 
on  the  same  level.  Above  this  apartment  was  a  small  suite 
of  rooms  communicating  with  his  own  by  a  back  staircase, 


TEE  EMPRESS'S  SUSPICIONS  CONFIRMED.       205 

which  he  had  recently  had  furnished,  and  the  Empress 
strongly  suspected  the  purpose  of  this  mysterious  retreat. 
One  morning,  when  there  were  several  persons  in  her  draw- 
ing-room, the  Empress,  seeing  Mme.  de (who  was  then 

resident  at  Saint  Cloud)  leave  the  room,  suddenly  rose  a  few 
minutes  afterward,  and,  taking  me  apart  into  a  window,  said : 
"  I  am  going  to  clear  up  my  doubts  this  very  moment ;  stay 
here  with  all  these  people,  and,  if  you  are  asked  where  I 
have  gone,  say  that  the  Emperor  sent  for  me."  I  tried  to 
restrain  her,  but  she  was  quite  ungovernable,  and  would  not 
listen  to  me.  She  went  out  at  the  same  moment,  and  I  re- 
mained, excessively  apprehensive  of  what  might  be  going  to 
happen.  In  about  half  an  hour  the  Empress  reentered  the 
room  by  the  opposite  door.  She  seemed  exceedingly  agi- 
tated, and  almost  unable  to  control  herself,  but  took  her  seat 
before  an  embroidery  frame.  I  remained  at  a  distance  from 
her,  apparently  occupied  by  my  needlework,  and  avoiding 
her  eye ;  but  I  could  easily  perceive  her  agitation  by  the  ab- 
ruptness of  all  her  movements,  which  were  generally  slow 
and  soft.  At  last,  as  she  was  incapable  of  keeping  silence 
under  strong  emotion  of  any  kind,  she  could  no  longer  endure 
this  constraint,  and,  calling  to  me  in  a  loud  voice,  she  bade  me 
follow  her.  When  we  had  reached  her  bedroom,  she  said : 
"All  is  lost.  It  is  but  too  true.  I  went  to  look  for  the 
Emperor  in  his  cabinet,  and  he  was  not  there ;  then  I  went 
up  the  back  stairs  into  the  upper  room.  I  found  the  door 
shut,  but  I  could  hear  Bonaparte's  voice,  and  also  that  of 

Mme.  de .     I  knocked  loudly  at  the  door,  and  called  out 

that  I  was  there.  You  may  imagine  the  start  I  gave  them. 
It  was  some  time  before  the  door  was  opened,  and  when  at 
last  I  was  admitted,  though  I  know  I  ought  to  have  been 
able  to  control  myself,  it  was  impossible,  and  I  reproached 

them  bitterly.     Mme.  de began  to  cry,  and  Bonaparte 

flew  into  so  violent  a  passion  that  I  had  hardly  time  to  fly 
before  him  and  escape  his  rage.  I  am  still  trembling  at  the 
thought  of  it ;  I  did  not  know  to  what  excess  his  anger  might 


MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  RfiMUSAT. 

have  gone.  JSTo  doubt  he  will  soon  come  here,  and  I  may 
expect  a  terrible  scene."  The  emotion  of  the  Empress  moved 
me  deeply.  "  Do  not,"  said  I,  "  commit  a  second  fault,  for 
the  Emperor  will  never  forgive  you  for  having  admitted  any 
one,  no  matter  whom,  to  your  confidence.  Let  me  leave  you, 
Madame.  You  must  wait  for  him ;  let  him  find  you  alone." 
I  returned  at  once  to  the  drawing-room,  where  I  found 
Mme.  de  .  She  glanced  at  me  nervously ;  she  was  ex- 
tremely pale,  talked  almost  incoherently,  and  tried  hard  to 
find  out  whether  I  knew  what  had  passed.  I  resumed  my 

work  as  tranquilly  as  I  could,  but  I  think  Mme.  de , 

having  seen  me  leave  the  room,  must  have  known  that  the 
Empress  had  told  me.  Every  one  was  looking  at  every  one 
else,  and  nobody  could  make  out  what  was  happening. 

A  few  minutes  afterward  we  heard  a  great  noise  in  the 
apartment  of  the  Empress,  and  of  course  I  knew  that  the 
Emperor  was  there,  and  that  a  violent  quarrel  was  taking 

place.  Mme.  de called  for  her  carriage,  and  at  once 

left  for  Paris.  This  sudden  departure  was  not  likely  to  mend 
matters.  I  was  to  go  to  Paris  in  the  evening.  Before  I  left 
Saint  Cloud  the  Empress  sent  for  me,  and  told  me,  with 
many  tears,  that  Bonaparte,  after  having  insulted  her  in 
every  possible  way,  and  smashed  some  of  the  furniture  in  his 
rage,  had  signified  to  her  that  she  was  at  once  to  quit  Saint 
Cloud.  He  declared  that,  weary  of  her  jealous  spying,  he 
was  determined  to  shake  off  such  a  yoke,  and  to  listen  hence- 
forth only  to  the  counsels  of  his  policy,  which  demanded  that 
he  should  take  a  wife  capable  of  giving  him  children.  She 
added  that  he  had  sent  orders  to  Eugene  de  Beauharnais  to 
come  to  Saint  Cloud  in  order  to  make  arrangements  for  the 
departure  of  his  mother,  and  she  added  that  she  was  now  lost 
beyond  redemption.  She  then  directed  me  to  go  and  see 
her  daughter  in  Paris  on  the  following  day,  and  to  inform 
her  exactly  of  all  that  had  occurred. 

Accordingly,  I  went  to  Mme.  Louis  Bonaparte.  She  had 
just  seen  her  brother,  who  had  come  from  Saint  Cloud.  The 


PROJECTS  OF  DIVORCE.  207 

Emperor  had  signified  to  him  his  resolution  to  divorce  his 
wife,  and  Eugene  had  received  the  communication  with  his 
accustomed  submission,  but  refused  all  the  personal  favors 
which  were  offered  to  him  as  a  consolation,  declaring  that 
from  the  moment  such  a  misfortune  should  fall  upon  his 
mother  he  would  accept  nothing,  but  that  he  would  follow 
her  to  any  retreat  which  might  be  assigned  to  her,  were  it 
even  at  Martinique,  as  he  was  resolved  to  sacrifice  all  to  her 
great  need  of  comfort.  Bonaparte  had  appeared  to  be  deeply 
impressed  by  this  generous  resolution ;  he  had  listened  to  all 
that  Eugene  said  in  unbroken  silence. 

I  found  Mme.  Louis  less  affected  by  this  event  than  I 
expected.  "  I  can  not  interfere  in  any  way,"  she  said.  "  My 
husband  has  positively  forbidden  me  to  do  so.  My  mother 
has  been  very  imprudent.  She  is  about  to  forfeit  a  crown, 
but,  at  any  rate,  she  will  have  peace.  Ah !  believe  me,  there 
are  women  more  unhappy  than  she."  She  spoke  with  such 
profound  sadness  that  I  could  not  fail  to  read  her  thoughts ; 
but,  as  she  never  allowed  a  word  to  be  said  about  her  own 
personal  position,  I  did  not  venture  to  reply  in  such  a. way  as 
would  make  it  evident  that  I  had  understood  her.  "  And, 
besides,"  said  she  in  conclusion,  "  if  there  be  any  chance  at  all 
of  setting  this  matter  right,  it  is  the  influence  of  my  mother's 
tears  and  her  gentleness  over  Bonaparte.  Believe  me,  it  is 
better  to  leave  them  to  themselves — not  to  interfere  at  all 
between  them  ^  and  I  strongly  advise  you  not  to  return  to 
Saint  Cloud,  especially  as  Mme.  N—  -  has  mentioned  you, 
and  believes  that  you  would  give  hostile  advice." 

I  remained  away  from  Saint  Cloud  for  two  days,  in  ac- 
cordance with  the  advice  of  Mme.  Louis  Bonaparte ;  but  on 
the  third  I  rejoined  my  Empress,  concerning  whom  I  felt 
the  deepest  solicitude.  I  found  her  relieved  from  one  press- 
ing trouble.  Her  submission  and  her  tears  had,  in  fact,  dis- 
armed Bonaparte ;  his  anger  and  its  cause  were  no  longer  in 
question.  A  tender  reconciliation  had  taken  place  between 
them ;  but,  immediately  afterward,  the  Emperor  had  thrown 
18 


208  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  LE  REMUS  AT. 

his  wife  into  fresh  agitation  by  letting  her  see  that  he  was 
seriously  entertaining  the  idea  of  a  divorce.  "  I  have  not 
the  courage,"  he  said  to  her,  "  to  come  to  a  final  resolution ; 
and  if  you  let  me  see  that  you  are  too  deeply  afflicted — if 
you  can  render  me  obedience  only — I  feel  that  I  shall  never 
have  the  strength  to  oblige  you  to  leave  me.  I  tell  you 
plainly,  however,  that  it  is  my  earnest  desire  that  you  should 
resign  yourself  to  the  interests  of  my  policy,  and  yourself 
spare  me  all  the  difficulties  of  this  painful  separation."  The 
Empress  told  me  that  he  wept  bitterly  while  uttering  these 
terrible  words.  I  remember  well  how,  as  I  listened  to  her, 
I  conceived  in  my  mind  the  plan  of  a  great  and  generous 
sacrifice  which  she  might  make  to  France. 

Believing,  as  I  then  believed,  that  the  fate  of  the  nation 
was  irrevocably  united  with  that  of  Napoleon,  I  thought 
there  would  be  true  greatness  of  soul  in  devoting  one's  self 
to  all  that  might  secure  and  confirm  that  destiny.  I  thought, 
had  I  been  the  woman  to  whom  such  a  representation  had 
been  made,  that  I  should  have  had  courage  to  abandon  the 
brilliant  position  which,  after  all,  was  grudged  to  me,  and 
retire  into  a  peaceful  solitude,  satisfied  with  the  sacrifice  that 
I  had  made.  But,  when  I  saw  in  Mme.  Bonaparte's  face 
what  suffering  the  Emperor's  words  had  caused  her,  I  re- 
membered that  my  mother  had  once  said  that  advice  to  be 
useful  must  be  adapted  to  the  character  of  the  person  to 
whom  it  is  offered,  and  I  refrained  from  uttering  the  lofty 
sentiments  of  which  my  mind  was  full.  I  bethought  me  in 
time  of  the  dread  with  which  the  Empress  would  contem- 
plate retirement,  of  her  taste  for  luxury  and  display,  and  of 
the  devouring  ennui  to  which  she  would  inevitably  fall  a 
prey  when  she  had  broken  with  the  world ;  and  I  confined 
myself  to  saying  that  I  saw  only  two  alternatives  for  her. 
The  first  of  these  was  to  sacrifice  herself  bravely  and  with 
dignity ;  in  which  case  she  ought  to  go  to  Malmaison  on  the 
following  morning,  and  thence  to  write  to  the  Emperor,  de- 
claring that  she  restored  his  freedom  to  him  ;  or  to  remain 


THE  POPE  TO  ARRIVE  IN  PARIS.  209 

where  she  was,  acknowledging  herself  to  be  unable  to  decide 
upon  her  own  fate,  and,  though  always  ready  to  obey,  posi- 
tively determined  to  await  his  direct  orders  before  she  should 
descend  from  the  throne  on  which  he  had  placed  her. 

She  adopted  the  second  alternative.  Assuming  the  atti- 
tude of  a  resigned  and  submissive  victim,  she  excited  the 
jealous  anger  of  all  the  Bonapartes  by  her  gentle  demeanor. 
Yielding,  sad,  considerate  of  everybody,  entirely  obedient, 
but  also  skillful  in  availing  herself  of  her  ascendancy  over 
her  husband,  she  reduced  him  to  a  condition  of  agitation  and 
indecision  from  which  he  could  not  escape. 

At  length,  one  memorable  evening,  after  long  hesitation, 
during  which  the  Empress  suffered  mortal  anguish  and  sus- 
pense, the  Emperor  told  her  that  the  Pope  was  about  to 
arrive  in  Paris,  that  he  would  crown  them  both,  and  that  she 
had  better  at  once  begin  to  prepare  for  the  great  ceremony. 
It  is  easy  to  picture  to  one's  fancy  the  joy  with  which  such 
a  termination  to  all  her  misery  filled  the  heart  of  the  Em- 
press, and  also  the  discomfiture  of  the  Bonapartes,  especially 
Joseph ;  for  the  Emperor  had  not  failed  to  acquaint  his  wife, 
according  to  his  usual  custom,  with  the  attempts  that  had 
been  made  to  induce  him  to  decide  on  a  divorce,  and  it  is 
only  reasonable  to  suppose  that  these  revelations  increased 
the  ill  feeling  already  existing  on  both  sides. 

On  this  occasion  the  Empress  confided  to  me  the  ardent 
desire  she  had  long  felt  to  have  her  marriage, 'which  had 
been  civilly  contracted,  confirmed  by  a  religious  ceremony. 
She  said  that  she  had  sometimes  spoken  of  this  to  the  Em- 
peror, and  that,  although  he  had  not  evinced  any  repugnance, 
he  had  objected  that,  even  if  a  priest  were  brought  into  the 
palace  to  perform  the  religious  rite,  it  could  not  be  done 
with  sufficient  secrecy  to  conceal  the  fact  that  until  then  they 
had  not  been  married  according  to  the  Church.  Either  that 
was  his  real  reason,  or  he  wanted  to  hold  this  means  of  break- 
ing his  marriage  in  reserve  for  future  use,  should  he  consider 
it  really  advisable  to  do  so ;  at  any  rate,  he  had  rejected  his 


210  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R&MUSAT. 

wife's  pleading  firmly,  but  mildly.  She  therefore  deter- 
mined to  await  the  arrival  of  the  Pope,  being  persuaded, 
very  reasonably,  that  his  Holiness  would  espouse  her  inter- 
ests on  such  a  point. 

The  entire  Court  was  now  occupied  in,  preparations  for 
the  ceremony  of  the  coronation.  The  Empress  was  continu- 
ally surrounded  by  all  the  best  artists  in  millinery  in  Paris, 
and  the  venders  of  the  most  fashionable  wares.  With  their 
assistance  she  decided  on  the  new  form  of  Court  dress,  and 
on  her  own  costume.  As  may  be  supposed,  there  was  no 
thought  of  resuming  the  hoop  worn  under  the  old  regime; 
it  was  merely  proposed  that  to  our  ordinary  garments  the 
long  mantle  (which  was  still  worn  after  the  return  of  the 
King)  should  be  added,  and  also  a  very  becoming  ruff  of 
blonde,  which  was  attached  to  the  shoulders  and  came  high 
up  at  the  back  of  the  head,  as  we  see  it  in  portraits  of  Cath- 
arine de'  Medici.  The  use  of  this  ruff  was  afterward  dis- 
continued, although  it  was,  in  my  opinion,  very  pretty,  and 
lent  dignity  and  grace  to  the  whole  costume.  The  Empress 
already  possessed  diamonds  of  considerable  value,  but  the 
Emperor  not  only  made  costly  additions  to  her  jewel-case, 
but  also  placed  the  diamonds  belonging  to  the  national  trea- 
sury in  her  hands,  and  desired  that  she  should  wear  them  on 
the  great  day.  A  diadem  of  brilliants,  above  which  the 
Emperor  was  with  his  own  hands  to  place  the  closed  crown 
upon  her  head,  was  made  for  her,  and  the  ceremony  was  pri- 
vately rehearsed.  David,  who  afterward  painted  the  great 
picture  of  the  coronation  of  the  Emperor  and  Empress,  at- 
tended these  rehearsals,  and  arranged  the  positions  of  each. 
The  coronation  of  the  Emperor  had  been  eagerly  discussed. 
The  first  idea  was  that  the  Pope  should  place  the  diadem 
upon  the  head  of  the  Emperor ;  but  Bonaparte  refused  to 
receive  the  crown  from  any  hand  but  his  own,  and  uttered 
on  that  occasion  the  sentence  which  Mme.  de  Stael  has 
quoted  in  her  work :  "  I  found  the  crown  of  France  upon 
the  ground,  and  I  picked  it  up." 


PREPARATIONS  FOR  THE  CORONATION.         211 

At  length,  after  a  great  deal  of  discussion,  it  was  ar- 
ranged that  the  Emperor  was  to  crown  himself,  and  that  the 
Pope  should  only  give  his  benediction.  Everything  was 
done  to  make  the  fetes  brilliant  and  popular,  and  people  be- 
gan to  flock  into  Paris.  Considerable  bodies  of  troops  were 
ordered  up  to  the  capital ;  all  the  chief  authorities  of  the 
provinces  were  invited ;  the  Arch-Chancellor  of  the  German 
Empire  and  a  great  number  of  foreigners  arrived.  Party 
spirit  slumbered  for  the  time  being,  and  the  whole  city  gave 
itself  up  to  the  excitement  and  curiosity  of  so  novel  an  inci- 
dent, and  a  spectacle  which  would  doubtless  be  magnificent. 
The  shopkeepers  drove  a  thriving  trade;  workmen  of  all 
kinds  were  employed,  and  rejoiced  in  the  occasion  that  pro- 
cured them  such  a  stroke  of  luck ;  the  population  of  the  city 
seemed  to  be  doubled ;  commerce,  public  establishments,  and 
theatres  all  profited  by  the  occasion,  and  all  was  bustle  and 
activity. 

The  poets  were  requested  to  celebrate  this  great  event. 
Ch6nier  was  ordered  to  compose  a  tragedy  for  the  perpetual 
commemoration  of  it,  and  he  took  Cyrus  for  his  hero.  The 
Opera  was  to  give  splendid  ballets.  To  us  dwellers  in  the 
palace  money  was  given  for  our  expenses,  and  the  Empress 
presented  each  of  her  Ladies-in-Waiting  with  handsome  dia- 
mond ornaments.  The  Court  dress  of  the  gentlemen  about 
the  Emperor  was  also  regulated.  This  becoming  costume 
consisted  of  the  French  coat,  in  different  colors  for  those 
who  belonged  to  the  department  of  the  Grand  Marshal,  the 
Grand  Chamberlain,  and  the  Grand  Equerry  respectively; 
silver  embroidery  for  all ;  a  cloak  of  velvet  lined  with  satin, 
worn  over  one  shoulder;  a  sash,  a  lace  cravat,  and  a  hat 
turned  up  in  front,  with  a  white  plume.  The  Princes  were 
to  wear  white  coats  embroidered  in  gold ;  the  Emperor  was 
to  wear  a  long  robe  somewhat  resembling  that  worn  by  our 
kings,  a  mantle  of  purple  velvet  sewn  with  golden  bees,  and 
his  crown,  a  golden  wreath  of  laurels  like  that  of  the  Caesars. 

It  seems  like  a  dream,  or  a  story  from  the  "Arabian 


212  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  RtiMUSAT. 

Nights,"  when  I  recall  the  luxury  that  was  displayed  at  that 
period,  the  perpetual  disputes  about  precedence,  the  claims 
of  rank,  and  all  the  demands  made  by  everybody.  The 
Emperor  directed  that  the  Princesses  should  carry  the  Em- 
press's mantle ;  there  was  the  greatest  difficulty  in  inducing 
them  to  consent  to  do  this ;  and  I  remember  well  that,  when 
at  last  they  did  consent,  they  performed  their  office  with  so 
ill  a  grace  that  the  Empress,  overpowered  by  the  weight  of 
her  magnificent  robe,  could  hardly  walk,  .for  they  would 
scarcely  lift  the  folds  off  the  ground.  They  obtained  per- 
mission to  have  their  own  trains  borne  by  their  respective 
chamberlains,  and  this  distinction  somewhat  consoled  them 
for  the  obligation  that  was  imposed  upon  them.* 

In  the  mean  time  we  learned  that  the  Pope  had  left 
Kome  on  the  2d  of  November.  The  slowness  of  his  jour- 
ney and  the  vast  scale  of  the  preparations  rendered  it  neces- 
sary to  put  off  the  coronation  until  the  2d  of  December ; 
and  on  the  24th  of  November  the  Court  went  to  Fontaine- 
bleau  to  receive  his  Holiness,  who  arrived  there  on  the  fol- 
lowing day. 

Before  I  close  this  chapter,  I  wish  to  mention  a  circum- 
stance which  ought,  it  seems  to  me,  to  be  recorded.  The 
Emperor  had  for  the  moment  relinquished  the  idea  of  a 
divorce,  but,  being  still  extremely  anxious  to  have  an  heir,  he 
asked  his  wife  whether  she  would  consent  to  acknowledge  a 
child  of  his  as  her  own,  and  to  feign  pregnancy,  so  that  every 

*  The  Memoirs  of  Count  Miot  de  Melito  contain  some  curious  particulars  of 
Court  life  during  the  Consulate  and  the  Empire ;  the  quarrels  of  Bonaparte  with 
his  brothers  on  account  of  the  succession  to  the  throne,  and  the  adoption  of  the 
son  of  Louis  Bonaparte.  He  also  narrates  in  detail  the  disputes  about  prece- 
dence, and  the  vexed  question  of  the  Empress's  mantle.  It  was  after  a  long 
discussion  between  the  Arch-Chancellor,  the  Arch-Treasurer,  the  Minister  of  the 
Interior,  the  Grand  Equerry,  and  the  Grand  Marshal  of  the  Court,  the  Princes 
Louis  and  Joseph,  and  the  Emperor  himself,  that  a  decision  was  arrived  at 
which  deprived  those  Princes  of  the  large  mantle  of  ermine — "  an  attribute,"  as 
it  was  called,  "of  sovereignty"  ;  and  that  it  was  resolved  the  words  "to  hold 
up  the  mantle "  should  be  used  in  the  proces-verbal  instead  of  "  to  carry  the 
train."  ("  MSmoires  du  Comte  Miot  de  Melito,"  vol.  ii.,  p.  323,  et  seq.)—P.  R. 


I 
BONAPARTE'S  PLAN.  213 

one  should  be  deceived.  She  consented  to  accede  to  any 
wish  of  his  on  this  point.  Then  Bonaparte  sent  for  Corvisart, 
his  chief  physician,  in  whom  he  had  well-merited  confidence, 
and  confided  his  plan  to  him.  "  If  I  succeed,"  said  he,  "  in 
making  sure  of  the  birth  of  a  boy  who  shall  be  my  own  son, 
I  want  you,  as  a  witness  of  the  pretended  confinement  of  the 
Empress,  to  do  all  that  would  be  necessary  to  give  the  device 
every  appearance  of  reality."  Corvisart,  who  felt  that  his 
honor  and  probity  were  injured  by  the  mere  proposition, 
refused  to  do  what  the  Emperor  required  of  him,  but  prom- 
ised inviolable  secrecy.  It  was  not  until  long  afterward,  and 
since  Bonaparte's  second  marriage,  that  he  confided  this  fact 
to  me,  while  at  the  same  time  he  afiinned  in  the  strongest 
terms  the  legitimate  birth  of  the  King  of  Home,  concerning 
which  some  entirely  unfounded  doubts  had  been  raised. 


CHAPTEE  X. 

The  Pope's  Arrival  in  Paris — The  Plebiscitum — The  Marriage  of  the  Empress 
Josephine — The  Coronation  Fetes  in  the  Champ  de  Mars,  at  the  Ope'ra,  etc. — 
The  Court  of  the  Empress. 

THE  Pope  was  probably  induced  to  come  to  France  solely 
by  the  representations  which  were  made  to  him  of  advan- 
tages and  concessions  to  be  gained  by  such  a  gracious  act. 
He  arrived  at  Fontainebleau  with  the  intention  of  lending 
himself  to  all  that  might  be  required  of  him,  within  legiti- 
mate bounds ;  and,  notwithstanding  the  superiority  on  which 
the  conqueror  who  had  forced  him  to  take  this  unheard-of 
step  plumed  himself,  and  the  small  respect  in  which  the 
Court  held  a  sovereign  who  did  not  reckon  the  sword  among 
the  insignia  of  his  royalty,  he  impressed  everybody  by  his 
dignity  and  the  gravity  of  his  bearing. 

The  Emperor  went  to  meet  him  at  a  few  leagues'  distance 
from  the  chateau,  and,  when  the  carriages  met,  he  alighted, 
as  did  his  Holiness  also.  The  Pope  and  the  Emperor  em- 
braced, and  then  got  into  the  same  carriage,  the  Emperor 
entering  first,  in  order,  as  the  "Moniteur"  of  the  day  ex- 
plained, to  give  the  Pope  the  right-hand  seat,  and  so  they 
came  to  the  palace. 

The  Pope  arrived  on  Sunday,*  at  noon;  and  having 
rested  for  a  while  in  his  own  apartment,  to  which  he  was 
conducted  by  the  Grand  Chamberlain  (i.  e.,  M.  de  Talley- 
rand), the  Grand  Marshal,  and  the  Grand  Master  of  Cere- 
monies, he  visited  the  Emperor,  who  met  him  outside  the 

*  November  25,  1804,  or  4th  Frimaire,  year  13.— P.  R. 


ARRIVAL  OF  THE  POPE.  215 

door  of  his  cabinet,  and,  after  an  interview  of  half  an 
hour's  duration,  reconducted  him  to  the  great  hall,  which 
was  then  called  "  The  Hall  of  the  Great  Officers."  The 
Empress  had  received  instructions  to  place  the  Pope  at  her 
right  hand. 

After  these  visits,  Prince  Louis,  the  Ministers,  the  Arch- 
Chancellor,  the  Arch-Treasurer,  Cardinal  Fesch,  and  the 
great  officers  then  at  Fontainebleau,  were  presented  to  the 
Pope,  who  received  them  all  most  graciously.  He  afterward 
dined  with  the  Emperor  and  retired  early. 

The  Pope  was  at  this  time  sixty-two  years  of  age,  tall  and 
upright  of  figure,  and  with  a  handsome,  grave,  benevolent 
face.  He  was  attended  by  a  numerous  suite  of  Italian  priests 
— anything  but  impressive  personages,  whose  rough,  noisy, 
and  vulgar  manners  contrasted  strangely  with  the  grave  good 
breeding  of  the  French  clergy.  The  Palace  of  Fontainebleau 
presented  a  strange  spectacle  just  then,  inhabited  as  it  was 
by  so  extraordinary  a  medley  of  persons — sovereigns,  princes, 
military  officers,  priests,  women,  all  gathered  together  in  the 
different  salons  at  the  prescribed  hours.  On  the  day  after 
his  arrival,  his  Holiness  -received  all  those  persons  belonging 
to  the  Court  who  desired  that  honor,  in  his  own  apartment. 
We  had  the  privilege  of  kissing  his  hand  and  receiving  his 
blessing.  His  presence  in  such  a  place,  and  on  so  great  an 
occasion,  affected  me  very  deeply. 

After  these  receptions,  visits  were  again  interchanged  be- 
tween the  sovereigns.  On  the  occasion  of  her  second  inter- 
view with  the  Pope,  the  Empress  carried  out  the  intention 
she  had  secretly  formed,  and  confided  to  him  that  her  mar- 
riage had  been  a  civil  ceremony  only.  His  Holiness,  after 
having  commended  her  for  the  good  use  she  made  of  her 
power,  and  addressing  her  as  "  My  daughter,"  promised  her 
that  he  would  require  of  the  Emperor  that  his  coronation 
should  be  preceded  by  the  ceremony  necessary  to  legiti- 
mize his  marriage  with  her ;  and,  in  fact,  the  Emperor  was 
obliged  to  consent  to  this.  On  their  return  to  Paris  Cardinal 


216  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE 

Fesch  married  Bonaparte  to  Josephine,  as  I  shall  presently 
relate. 

On  the  Monday  evening  a  concert  was  to  take  place  in 
the  apartments  of  the  Empress.  The  Pope,  however,  declined 
to  be  present,  and  retired  just  as  the  entertainment  was  about 
to  begin. 

At  this  time  the  Emperor  took  a  fancy  to  Mme.  de 

X ,  and  whether  it  was  that  his  budding  passion  had 

inspired  him  with  a  wish  to  please,  or  that  his  satisfaction  at 
the  success  of  his  plans  kept  him  in  good  humor,  I  can  not 
say ;  certain  it  is,  however,  that  while  we  were  at  Fontaine- 
bleau  he  was  more  affable  and  approachable  than  usual.  Af- 
ter the  Pope  had  retired,  the  Emperor  remained  in  the  Em- 
press's drawing-room,  and  talked,  not  with  the  men,  but,  by 
preference,  with  the  women  who  were  there.  His  wife, 
keen  of  perception  where  anything  which  aroused  her  jeal- 
ousy was  in  question,  was  struck  by  this  departure  from  his 
ordinary  habits,  and  suspected  that  some  new  fancy  was  the 
cause  of  it.  She  could  not,  however,  discover  the  real  ob- 
ject of  his  thoughts,  because  he  very  adroitly  paid  marked 

attention  to  each  of  us  in  succession ;  and  Mme.  de  X , 

who  as  yet  conducted  herself  with  great  reserve,  did  not  seem 
to  perceive  that  she  was  the  particular  object  of  the  general 
gallantries  that  the  Emperor  affected  to  distribute  among  us. 
Some  of  those  present  believed  that  the  Marechale  "Ney  was 
about  to  receive  his  homage.  The  Marechale  is  the  daughter 
of  M.  Augue,  formerly  Keceiver-General  of  Finance,  and  her 
mother  was  one  of  the  Bedchamber  Women  to  Queen  Marie 
Antoinette.  She  was  educated  by  her  aunt,  Mme.  Campan, 
and  when  in  her  establishment  became  the  friend  and  com- 
panion of  Hortense  de  Beauharnais,  now  the  Princess  Louis. 
She  was  at  this  time  about  twenty-two  or  twenty-three  years 
old,  and  rather  pretty,  but  too  thin.  She  knew  very  little  of 
the  world,  was  excessively  shy,  and  had  not  the  slightest  de- 
sire to  attract  the  Emperor,  whom  she  regarded  with  extreme 
dread. 


RETURN  OF  TEE  COURT  TO  PARIS.  217 

During  our  sojourn  at  Fontainebleau,  a  decree  of  the  Sen- 
ate was  published  in  the  "  Moniteur."  It  was  to  the  effect 
that,  according  to  the  verification  of  the  registers  of  the  votes 
given  upon  the  question  of  the  Empire,  made  by  a  commis- 
sion of  the  Senate,  Bonaparte  and  his  family  were  declared 
to  be  called  to  the  throne  of  France.  The  general  total  of 
voters  amounted  to  3,574,898.  Of  these,  3,572,329  were  ayes, 
2,569  noes. 

The  Court  returned  to  Paris  on  Thursday,  the  29th  of 
November.  The  Emperor  and  the  Pope  traveled  in  the  same 
carriage,  and  his  Holiness  was  lodged  in  the  Pavilion  of 
Flora.  Certain  members  of  the  household  were  appointed 
to  attend  on  him. 

During  the  first  few  days  of  his  residence  in  Paris,  the 
Pope  was  not  treated  by  the  inhabitants  with  all  the  respect 
which  might  have  been  anticipated  A  crowd,  attracted  by 
curiosity,  thronged  his  path  when  he  visited  the  churches, 
and  assembled  under  his  balcony  when  he  appeared  there  to 
give  his  blessing.  By  degrees,  however,  the  description  of  the 
dignity  of  his  manners  given  by  those  who  had  access  to  him, 
several  noble  and  affecting  sayings  of  his  on  different  occa- 
sions, and  the  self-possession  which  he  maintained  in  a  position 
so  new  and  strange  to  the  head  of  Christendom,  produced  a 
marked  change  even  among  the  lower  classes  of  the  people. 

Every  morning  the  terrace  of  the  Tuileries  was  covered 
with  a  great  multitude,  calling  loudly  for  him,  and  kneeling 
to  receive  his  blessing.  The  people  were  admitted  to  the 
gallery  of  the  Louvre  at  certain  specified  times  during  the 
day,  and  then  the  Pope  would  walk  from  end  to  end  of  it 
and  bless  the  multitude.  Mothers  flocked  thither  with  their 
children,  and  were  received  with  special  kindness.  One  day 
an  individual  who  was  a  well-known  enemy  of  religion  was 
in  the  gallery  when  the  Pope  arrived,  and,  as  his  curiosity 
urged  him  to  stay,  he  held  himself  aloof,  as  though  to  avoid 
the  benediction.  The  Pope  drew  near  him,  divined  his  se- 
cret hostility,  and  said  to  him,  in  the  gentlest  tone  :  "  Why  do 


218  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R&MUSAT. 

you  avoid  me,  sir  ?  Is  there  any  danger  in  an  old  man's 
blessing?" 

Yery  soon  all  Paris  resounded  with  praise  of  the  Pope, 
and  the  Emperor's  jealousy  was  excited.  He  made  certain 
arrangements  which  obliged  his  Holiness  to  deny  himself  to 
the  too  eager  entreaties  of  the  faithful ;  and  the  Pope,  who 
detected  the  Emperor's  uneasiness,  adopted  extreme  reserve, 
but  without  allowing  the  slightest  sign  of  human  pride  to 
appear  in  his  manner  or  conduct. 

Two  days  before  the  coronation,  M.  de  Re'musat,  who, 
in  addition  to  being  Grand  Chamberlain,  was  also  Keeper  of 
the  Wardrobe,  and  therefore  charged  with  all  the  details  of 
the  Imperial  costumes,  submitted  to  the  Empress  the  superb 
diadem  which  had  just  been  made  for  her.  He  found  her 
in  a  state  of  delight  and  satisfaction,  which  she  could  hardly 
conceal  from  general  notice.  Presently  she  took  my  hus- 
band apart,  and  confided  to  him  that,  on  the  morning  of  that 
same  day,  an  altar  had  been  erected  in  the  Emperor's  cabi- 
net, and  that  Cardinal  Fesch  had  performed  the  marriage 
ceremony  between  herself  and  Bonaparte,  in  the  presence 
of  two  aides-de-camp.  After  the  ceremony  she  had  pro- 
cured a  written  certificate  of  the  marriage  from  the  Cardinal. 
She  carefully  preserved  this  document,  and,  notwithstanding 
all  the  Emperor's  efforts  to  obtain  it  from  her,  she  never 
could  be  induced  to  part  with  it. 

It  has  since  been  said  that  any  religious  marriage  not 
witnessed  by  the  cure  of  the  parish  in  which  it  is  celebrated 
is  de  facto  null  and  void,  and  that  a  means  of  breaking  the 
marriage  was  purposely  reserved  by  this  expedient.  In  that 
case,  Cardinal  Fesch  must  have  been  a  consenting  party  to 
the  fraud ;  and  yet  his  subsequent  conduct  forbids  any  such 
supposition.  When  violent  quarrels  arose  on  the  subject  of 
the  divorce,  and  the  Empress  went  so  far  as  to  threaten  her 
husband  with  the  publication  of  the  certificate  in  her  posses- 
sion, Cardinal  Fesch  was  consulted  upon  the  point.  He 
repeatedly  affirmed  that  the  document  was  in  good  form, 


THE  CORONATION.  219 

and  that  his  conscience  obliged  him  to  declare  the  marriage 
so  validly  solemnized  that  it  could  not  be  broken  otherwise 
than  by  an  act  of  arbitrary  authority. 

After  the  divorce  the  Emperor  wanted  to  get  possession 
of  the  document  in  question ;  but  the  Cardinal  advised  the 
Empress  not  to  part  with  it.  It  is  a  remarkable  proof  of  the 
extent  to  which  suspicion  and  distrust  prevailed  among  all 
the  members  of  the  Bonaparte  family,  that  the  Empress, 
while  availing  herself  of  advice  that  coincided  with  her  own 
feelings,  told  me  she  sometimes  thought  the  Cardinal  gave 
her  that  advice  in  connivance  with  the  Emperor,  who  wanted 
to  drive  her  to  some  outbreak  which  would  give  him  an  ex- 
cuse for  banishing  her  from  France.  And  yet,  the  uncle 
and  nephew  had  quarreled,  at  that  very  time,  about  the 
Pope's  affairs. 

On  the  2d  of  December  the  coronation  took  place.  It 
would  be  difficult  to  describe  its  splendor  or  to  enter  into  the 
details  of  that  day.  The  weather  was  cold;  but  dry  and 
bright ;  the  streets  of  Paris  were  crowded  with  people  more 
curious  than  enthusiastic ;  the  guard  under  arms  presented  a 
fine  spectacle. 

The  Pope  preceded  the  Emperor  by  several  hours,  and 
waited  with  admirable  patience  for  the  long-delayed  arrival 
of  the  procession.  He  sat  upon  the  throne  erected  for  him 
in  the  church,  and  made  no  complaint  either  of  cold  or 
weariness.  The  Cathedral  of  Notre  Dame  was  decorated 
with  taste  and  magnificence.  At  the  far  end  was  a  splendid 
throne  for  the  Emperor,  on  which  he  was  to  appear  sur- 
rounded by  his  entire  Court.  Before  setting  out  for  Notre 
Dame,  we  were  admitted  to  the  apartment  of  the  Empress. 
Our  attire  was  very  brilliant,  but  it  paled  before  the  magnifi- 
cence of  the  costumes  of  the  Imperial  family.  The  Empress 
especially,  sparkling  with  diamonds,  and  wearing  her  hair  in 
countless  curls,  a  style  of  the  time  of  Louis  XVI.,  did  not 
look  more  than  twenty-five.*  She  wore  a  white  satin  gown, 

*  She  was  forty-one,  having  been  born  at  Martinique  on  the  23d  of  June,  1763. 


220  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R&MUSAT. 

and  a  Court  mantle  of  the  same  material,  both  profusely 
embroidered  in  mingled  gold  and  silver.  Her  ornaments 
consisted  of  a  diadem,  a  necklace,  earrings,  and  a  girdle  of 
diamonds  of  immense  value ;  and  all  this  gorgeous  attire  was 
worn  with  her  customary  easy  grace.  Her  sisters-in-law  were 
also  adorned  with  a  vast  quantity  of  jewels.  The  Emperor 
inspected  each  of  us  in  our  turn,  smiling  at  this  luxury,  which 
was,  like  all  the  rest,  a  sudden  creation  of  his  sovereign  will. 

His  own  costume  was  brilliant.  He  was  to  assume  the 
Imperial  robes  at  Notre  Dame,  but  for  the  present  he  wore 
a  French  coat  of  red  velvet  embroidered  in  gold,  a  white 
sash,  a  short  cloak  sewn  with  bees,  a  plumed  hat  turned  up 
in  front  with  a  diamond  buckle,  and  the  collar  of  the  Legion 
of  Honor  in  diamonds.  This  superb  dress  became  him  well. 
The  whole  Court  wore  velvet  cloaks  embroidered  in  gold. 
It  must  be  acknowledged  that  we  paraded  ourselves  a  little 
for  our  mutual  amusement;  but  the  spectacle  was  really 
beautiful. 

The  Emperor  got  into  his  carriage — it  had  seven  glasses, 
and  was  gorgeously  gilded — with  his  wife  and  his  two  broth- 
ers, Joseph  and  Louis.  Then  we  all  took  our  appointed 
places  in  the  carriages  which  were  to  follow,  and  the  splen- 
did cortege  proceeded  at  a  foot-pace  to  Notre  Dame.  There 
was  no  lack  of  shouting  on  our  way ;  and,  although  the  accla- 
mations of  the  people  had  not  that  ring  of  enthusiasm  which 
a  sovereign  jealous  of  his  people's  love  longs  to  recognize, 
they  sufficed  to  gratify  the  vanity  of  a  haughty  master,  but 
one  who  was  not  sensitive. 

On  his  arrival  at  Notre  Dame,  the  Emperor  entered  the 
archiepiscopal  palace,  and  there  assumed  his  robes  of  state. 
They  seemed  almost  to  crush  him ;  his  slight  frame  collapsed 
under  the  enormous  mantle  of  ermine.  A  simple  laurel- 
wreath  encircled  his  head ;  he  looked  like  an  antique  medal- 
lion, but  he  was  extremely  pale,  and  genuinely  affected. 
The  expression  of  his  countenance  was  stern  and  somewhat 
distressed. 


AN  IMPRESSIVE  CEREMONY.  221 

The  ceremony  was  grand  and  impressive.  A  general 
movement  of  admiration  was  noticeable  at  the  moment 
when  the  Empress  was  crowned.  She  was  so  unaffected, 
so  graceful,  as  she  advanced  toward  the  altar,  she  knelt 
down  with  such  simple  elegance,  that  all  eyes  were  de- 
lighted with  the  picture  she  presented.  When  she  had  to 
walk  from  the  altar  to  the  throne,  there  was  a  slight  alter- 
cation with  her  sisters-in-law,  who  carried  her  mantle  with 
such  an  ill  grace  that  I  observed  at  one  moment  the  new- 
made  Empress  could  not  advance  a  step.  The  Emperor 
perceived  this,  and  spoke  a  few  sharp  short  words  to  his 
sisters,  which  speedily  brought  them  to  reason. 

During  the  ceremony,  the  Pope  bore  an  air  of  resigna- 
tion of  a  noble  sort,  the  result  of  his  own  will,  and  for  a 
purpose  of  great  utility.  It  was  between  two  and  three 
o'clock  when  the  cortege  left  Notre  Dame,  and  we  did  not 
reach  the  Tuileries  until  the  short  December  day  had  closed 
in.  We  were  lighted  by  the  general  illuminations,  and  a 
number  of  torches  were  carried  along  the  line  of  vehicles. 
We  dined  at  the  chateau,  with  the  Grand  Marshal,  and 
after  dinner  the  Emperor  received  all  the  members  of  the 
Court  who  had  not  yet  retired.  He  was  in  high  spirits, 
and  delighted  with  the  ceremony ;  he  admired  us  all,  jested 
about  the  effect  of  finery  on  women,  and  said  to  us,  laugh- 
ingly, "  You  owe  it  to  me,  mesdames,  that  you  are  so  charm- 
ing !  "  He  had  not  allowed  the  Empress  to  take  off  her 
crown,  although  she  had  dined  tete-a-tete  with  him,  and  he 
complimented  her  on  the  grace  with  which  she  wore  it.  At 
length  he  dismissed  us. 

Innumerable  fetes  and  rejoicings  took  place  during  the 
ensuing  month.  On  the  5th  of  December  the  Emperor 
went  to  the  Champ  de  Mars  with  the  same  state  as  on  the 
coronation  day,  and  distributed  eagles  to  a  number  of  regi- 
ments. The  enthusiasm  of  the  soldiers  far  surpassed  that 
of  the  people;  but  the  bad  weather  spoiled  the  effect  of 
this  second  great  day.  It  rained  in  torrents,  but  neverthe- 


222  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R^MUS AT. 

less  an  immense  multitude  thronged  the  Champ  de  Mars. 
M.  Maret  devoted  the  following  flowery  passage  in  the 
"  Moniteur "  to  the  rain  of  the  5th  of  December :  "  Al- 
though the  situation  of  the  spectators  was  distressing,  there 
was  not  one  among  them  who  did  not  find  ample  com- 
pensation in  the  sentiment  which  induced  him  to  remain 
in  his  place,  and  in  the  utterance  of  aspirations  (ywux\ 
to  which  his  acclamations  bore  testimony." 

A  common  and  absurd  form  of  flattery,  and  one  which 
has  been  resorted  to  in  every  age,  is  the  making  believe  that, 
because  a  king  has  need  of  sunshine,  he  can  secure  its  pres- 
ence. I  remember  when  it  was  a  current  saying  at  the  Tui- 
leries  that  the  Emperor  had  only  to  fix  a  certain  day  for  a 
review  or  a  hunting-party,  and  the  sky  could  not  fail  to  be 
cloudless.  Whenever  it  was  so,  the  fact  was  eagerly  re- 
marked ;  but  nothing  was  said  about  the  days  that  were  dull 
01;  rainy.  A  similar  device  was  adopted  in  the  time  of  Louis 
XIY.  It  was  not,  indeed,  possible  to  say  that  it  did  not 
rain  during  the  distribution  of  the  eagles  at  the  Champ  de 
Mars,  but  I  met  many  people  who  gravely  assured  me  that 
the  rain  did  not  wet  them. 

A  spacious  platform  had  been  constructed  for  the  accom- 
modation of  the  Imperial  family  and  the  Court;  on  this 
the  throne,  protected  as  much  as  possible  from  the  rain, 
was  placed.  The  canvas  and  hangings  were  speedily  wet 
through ;  the  Empress  was  obliged  to  withdraw,  with  her 
daughter — who  was  out  for  the  first  time  after  the  birth  of 
her  second  child — and  her  sisters-in-law,  excepting  Mme. 
Murat,  who  continued  to  brave  the  weather  although  she 
was  lightly  dressed.  She  was  training  herself,  as  she  said 
laughingly,  "to  endure  the  inevitable  constraints  of  roy- 
alty." 

On  that  day  a  sumptuous  banquet  was  given  at  the  Tui- 
leries.  A  table  was  laid  in  the  Gallery  of  Diana,  beneath  a 
magnificent  canopy,  for  the  Pope,  the  Emperor,  the  Empress, 
and  the  first  Arch-Chancellor  of  the  German  Empire.  The 


PLAY  AT  THE  EMPERORS  COURT.  223 

Pope  sat  on  the  left  of  the  Empress,  and  the  Emperor  on  her 
right.  They  were  waited  on  by  the  great  officers  of  the 
household.  Lower  down,  there  was  a  table  for  the  Princes, 
among  whom  was  the  Hereditary  Prince  of  Baden ;  a  table 
for  the  Ministers ;  one  for  the  ladies  and  gentlemen  of  the 
Imperial  household — all  served  with  the  utmost  luxury. 
Some  fine  music  was  performed  during  the  repast.  Then 
came  a  largely  attended  reception,  at  which  the  Pope  was 
present ;  and  a  ballet,  performed  by  dancers  from  the  Opera, 
in  the  great  drawing-room.  The  Pope  withdrew  before  the 
ballet.  The  evening  concluded  with  cards,  and  the  Emperor 
gave  the  signal  for  departure  by  retiring. 

At  the  Emperor's  Court,  play  merely  formed  a  portion  of 
the  ceremonial.  He  never  allowed  money  to  be  staked,  and 
the  games  were  whist  and  loto.  We  used  to  make  up  the 
tables  just  for  something  to  do,  and  generally  talked,  while 
we  held  our  cards  without  looking  at  them.  The  Empress 
was  fond  of  playing  cards,  even  without  money,  and  played 
whist  in  real  earnest.  Her  card-table  and  that  of  the  Prin- 
cesses were  placed  in  the  room  called  the  Emperor's  cabinet, 
at  the  entrance  of  the  Gallery  of  Diana.  She  played  with 
the  greatest  personages  present,  foreigners,  ambassadors,  or 
Frenchmen.  The  two  ladies-in-waiting  on  duty  for  the  week 
occupied  seats  behind  her;  a  chamberlain  stood  near  her 
chair.  While  she  was  playing,  all  who  were  in  the  rooms 
came,  one  after  the  other,  to  make  their  bows  and  courtesies 
to  her.  Bonaparte's  brothers  and  sisters  also  played,  and  sent 
invitations  to  join  their  card-tables,  by  their  respective  cham- 
berlains, to  various  persons.  His  mother,  who  had  been 
given  a  house  and  the  title  of  Princess,  but  who  was  always 
called  Madame  Mere,  did  the  same.  The  Emperor  walked 
about  everywhere,  preceded  by  chamberlains  who  announced 
his  presence.  On  his  approach  every  voice  was  hushed ;  no 
one  left  his  place ;  the  ladies  stood  up,  waiting  for  the  insig- 
nificant, and  frequently  ungracious,  remarks  which  he  would 
address  to  them.  He  never  remembered  a  name,  and  his 
19 


224:  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  RfiMUSAT. 

first  question  almost  invariably  was,  "  And  what  do  you  call 
yourself  ? "  There  was  not  a  woman  present  on  those  occasions 
who  did  not  rejoice  when  he  moved  away  from  her  vicinity. 

This  reminds  me  of  an  anecdote  about  Gretry.  As  a 
member  of  the  Institute  he  frequently  attended  the  Sunday 
receptions,  and  it  happened  several  times  that  the  Emperor, 
who  had  come  to  recognize  his  face,  approached  him  almost 
mechanically  and  asked  him  his  name.  One  day  Gretry, 
who  was  tired  of  this  perpetual  question,  and  perhaps  a  little 
annoyed  at  not  having  produced  a  more  lasting  impression, 
answered  to  the  Emperor's  rudely  uttered  "  And  you  !  who 
are  you?"  in  a  sharp,  impatient  tone,  "Sire,  I  am  still 
Gretry."  Ever  afterward  the  Emperor  recognized  him  per- 
fectly. The  Empress,  on  the  contrary,  had  an  accurate  mem- 
ory for  names,  and  also  for  the  smallest  particulars  concern- 
ing each  individual. 

For  a  long  time  the  routine  of  the  Court  receptions  con- 
tinued to  be  what  I  have  described.  Afterward,  concerts, 
ballets,  and  even  plays,  were  added  to  the  list  of  amuse- 
ments ;  but  I  shall  refer  to  this  subject  in  due  order  of  time. 
The  Emperor  desired  that  special  places  should  be  assigned 
to  the  ladies-in-waiting,  and  these  small  privileges  excited 
small  jealousies  which  engendered  great  animosities,  after 
the  invariable  law  of  courts.  At  this  period  the  Emperor 
indulged  in  ceremonies  of  every  kind ;  he  liked  them,  espe- 
cially because  they  were  of  his  own  creation.  He  always 
spoiled  their  effect  to  some  extent  by  the  habitual  precipita- 
tion from  which  he  could  rarely  refrain,  and  by  the  appre- 
hension lest  all  should  not  be  exactly  as  he  wished,  with 
which  he  inspired  everybody.  On  one  occasion,  he  gave 
audience,  seated  on  his  throne  and  surrounded  by  the  great 
officers  of  the  household,  the  Marshals,  and  the  Senate,  to  all 
the  Prefects,  and  to  the  Presidents  of  the  electoral  colleges. 
He  then  granted  a  second  audience  to  the  former,  and 
strongly  urged  them  to  carry  out  the  conscription.  "  With- 
out that,"  said  the  Emperor  (and  these  words  were  inserted 


CHfiNIER'S  TRAGEDY.  225 

in  the  "  Moniteur "),  "  there  can  be  neither  national  power 
nor  national  independence."  No  doubt,  he  was  then  cher- 
ishing a  project  for  placing  the  crown  of  Italy  upon  his 
head,  and  felt  that  his  designs  must  lead  to  war ;  and,  be- 
sides, as  the  impossibility  of  an  invasion  of  England  had 
been  made  clear  to  him,  although  the  preparations  were  still 
carried  on,  the  necessity  for  employing  an  army  which  was 
becoming  a  burden  to  France  was  pressed  upon  his  atten- 
tion. In  the  midst  of  these  graver  subjects  of  anxiety,  he 
had  reason  to  be  provoked  with  the  Parisians.  He  had  be- 
spoken from  Chenier  a  tragedy  to  be  acted  on  the  occasion 
of  the  coronation.  The  poet  had  selected  Cyrus  for  his 
theme,  and  the  fifth  act  of  the  tragedy  (the  coronation  of  the 
hero  of  ancient  history)  represented  the  ceremony  of  Notre 
Dame  accurately  enough.  The  piece  was  a  poor  production, 
and  the  allusions  in  it  were  too  palpable,  too  evidently  writ- 
ten to  order.  The  Parisian  audience  hissed  the  tragedy 
from  first  to  last,  and  laughed  aloud  at  the  scene  of  the  en- 
thronement. The  Emperor  was  much  displeased ;  he  was  as 
angry  with  my  husband  as  if  M.  de  Remusat  had  been  re- 
sponsible to  him  for  the  approbation  of  the  public,  and  by 
the  revelation  of  this  weak  point  the  public  learned  to  avenge 
themselves  at  the  theatre  for  the  silence  BO  rigorously  im- 
posed upon  them  elsewhere. 

The  Senate  gave  a  magnificent  fete,  and  the  Corps  Legis- 
latif  followed  the  example.  On  the  16th  of  December  an 
entertainment  took  place,  by  which  the  city  of  Paris  incurred 
a  debt,  unpaid  for  many  years,  for  a  grand  public  feast,  fire- 
works, a  ball,  and  the  silver-gilt  toilet-services  presented  to 
the  Emperor  and  Empress.  Addresses  and  laudatory  in- 
scriptions abounded  in  all  directions.  The  flatteries  lavished 
upon  Louis  XIY.  during  his  reign  have  been  much  com- 
mented upon ;  I  am  sure,  if  they  were  all  put  together,  they 
would  not  amount  to  one  tenth  of  those  which  were  be- 
stowed upon  Bonaparte.  Some  years  later,  at  another  fete 
given  by  the  city  of  Paris  to  the  Emperor,  the  repertory  of 


226  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE 

inscriptions  being  exhausted,  a  brilliant  device  was  resorted 
to.  Over  the  throne  which  he  was  to  occupy  were  placed 
the  following  words  from  the  Holy  Scriptures,  in  letters  of 
gold :  "  I  am  that  I  am."  And  no  one  seemed  to  be  scan- 
dalized ! 

France  was  given  up  at  this  time  to  fetes  and  merry- 
making. Medals  were  struck  and  distributed  profusely. 
The  Marshals  gave  a  great  ball  in  the  Opera  House,  at  a  cost 
of  ten  thousand  francs  to  each.  The  pit  was  boarded  over, 
on  a  level  with  the  stage ;  the  boxes  were  festooned  with 
silver  gauze,  brilliantly  lighted,  and  filled  with  ladies  in  full 
dress.  The  Imperial  family  were  seated  apart  on  an  es- 
trade,  and  the  company  danced  in  the  vast  inclosure.  Flow- 
ers and  diamonds  in  profusion,  splendid  dresses,  and  the 
magnificence  of  the  Court  made  this  a  most  brilliant  enter- 
tainment. We  were  all  put  to  great  expense  on  these  occa- 
sions. A  sum  of  ten  thousand  francs  was  allowed  to  the 
ladies-in-waiting  as  compensation  for  their  expenditure,  but 
it  was  not  nearly  sufficient.  The  cost  of  the  coronation 
amounted  to  four  millions  of  francs. 

The  princes  and  distinguished  foreigners  staying  in  Paris 
paid  an  assiduous  court  to  our  sovereign,  and  the  Emperor 
did  the  honors  of  Paris  with  a  good  grace.  Prince  Louis  of 
Baden  was  then  very  young,  and  rather  shy ;  he  kept  him- 
self in  the  background.  The  Prince  Primate,  who  was  over 
sixty,  was  amiable,  lively,  and  garrulous.  He  was  well  ac- 
quainted with  France,  and  with  Paris,  where  he  had  lived  in 
his  youth ;  he  was  fond  of  literature,  and  friendly  with  the 
former  Academicians,  who  were  admitted,  with  a  few  other 
persons,  to  the  smaller  receptions  held  by  the  Empress. 
During  this  winter  about  fifty  ladies  and  a  number  of  gen- 
tlemen used  to  be  invited,  once  or  twice  a  week,  to  sup  at 
the  Tuileries.  Eight  o'clock  was  the  hour  named,  and  full 
dress,  but  not  Court  dress,  was  worn.  We  played  at  cards 
in  the  drawing-room  on  the  ground-floor,  which  is  now 
Madame's  drawing-room.  On  Bonaparte's  appearance  we 


THE  COURT  OF  THE  EMPRESS.  227 

used  to  pass  into  a  music-room,  where  a  musical  performance 
by  Italian  singers  occupied  half  an  hour ;  then  we  returned 
to  the  drawing-room,  and  resumed  our  cards.  The  Emperor 
would  move  about,  either  playing  or  talking.  A  sumptuous 
and  elegant  supper  was  served  at  eleven  o'clock,  the  ladies 
only  being  seated.  Bonaparte's  arm-chair  would  remain  un- 
occupied ;  he  would  saunter  round  the  table,  but  eat  nothing. 
When  supper  was  over,  he  would  take  his  departure.  The 
princes  and  princesses,  the  great  officers  of  the  Empire,  two 
or  three  ministers,  a  few  marshals,  some  generals,  senators, 
State  councilors,  and  their  wives,  were  always  invited  to 
these  small  parties.  There  was  great  rivalry  in  dress.  The 
Empress,  as  well  as  her  sisters-in-law,  always  appeared  in 
something  new,  with  quantities  of  pearls  and  precious  stones. 
She  was  the  possessor  of  pearls  worth  a  million  of  francs. 
At  that  time  stuffs  shot  with  gold  or  silver  began  to  be  worn. 
During  the  winter  turbans  became  the  fashion  at  court ;  they 
were  made  either  of  white  or  colored  muslin,  spotted  with 
gold,  or  of  a  brilliant  Turkish  material.  By  degrees  our  gar- 
ments assumed  an  Eastern  shape :  over  our  richly  embroidered 
muslin  gowns  we  used  to  wear  short  dresses  of  some  colored 
fabric,  open  in  front,  and  our  arms,  shoulders,  and  bosoms 
uncovered. 

The  Emperor,  who,  as  I  shall  presently  relate,  was  be- 
coming more  and  more  deeply  in  love,  sought  to  disguise 
the  fact  by  paying  attentions  to  all  the  ladies,  and  seemed  at 
his  ease  only  when  surrounded  by  them.  The  gentlemen 
would  then  become  aware  that  their  presence  embarrassed 
him,  and  they  would  retire  to  an  adjoining  room.  The  scene 
was  then  not  unlike  a  harem,  as  I  remarked  one  evening  to 
Bonaparte.  He  was  in  a  good  humor,  and  laughed ;  but  my 
jest  was  far  from  pleasing  to  the  Empress. 

The  Pope,  who  passed  his  evenings  in  retirement,  visited 
the  churches,  hospitals,  and  public  institutions  in  the  morn- 
ing. He  officiated  on  one  occasion  at  Notre  Dame,  and  a 
great  crowd  was  admitted  to  kiss  his  feet.  He  visited  Yer- 


228  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  RfiMUSAT. 

sallies  and  the  suburbs  of  Paris,  and  was  received  with  such 
profound  respect  at  the  Invalides  that  the  Emperor  grew 
uneasy.  And  yet  I  heard  that,  while  his  Holiness  was  most 
anxious  to  return  to  Rome,  the  Emperor  still  detained  him. 
I  have  never  been  able  to  discover  his  motive. 

The  Pope  was  always  dressed  in  white :  having  been  a 
monk,  he  wore  a  woolen  habit,  and  over  it  a  sort  of  surplice 
of  cambric  trimmed  with  lace,  which  had  a  curious  effect. 
His  calotte,  or  skull-cap,  was  of  white  woolen  stuff. 

At  the  end  of  December  the  Corps  Legislatif  was  opened 
in  state ;  labored  speeches  upon  the  importance  and  the  hap- 
piness of  the  great  event  which  had  just  taken  place  were 
delivered,  and  a  report,  not  only  flourishing  but  als*o  true,  on 
the  prosperous  condition  of  France,  was  presented. 

Meanwhile,  applications  for  places  at  the  new  Court  were 
numerous,  and  the  Emperor  acceded  to  some  of  them.  He 
also  named  senators  from  among  the  presidents  of  the  elec- 
toral colleges.  Marmont  was  made  colonel-general  of  the 
Mounted  Chasseurs ;  and  the  Grand  Cordon  of  the  Legion  of 
Honor  was  bestowed  on  Cambaceres,  Lebrun,  the  Marshals, 
Cardinal  Fesch,  MM.  Duroc,  De  Caulaincourt,  De  Talley- 
rand, De  Segur,  and  also  on  several  Ministers,  the  Chief 
Judge,  and  on  MM.  Gaudin  and  Portalis,  Ministers  of  Pub- 
lic Worship.  These  appointments  and  favors  kept  every 
one  in  a  state  of  expectation. 

Thenceforth  the  impulse  was  given ;  people  became  ac- 
customed to  wishing,  to  waiting,  to  seeing  daily  some  new 
thing.  Each  day  would  bring  forth  some  little  circumstance, 
unexpected  in  itself,  but  anticipated  ;  for  we  had  acquired  a 
habit  of  always  being  on  the  lookout  for  something.  After- 
ward the  Emperor  extended  to  the  entire  nation,  to  the  whole 
of  Europe,  the  system  of  continually  exciting  ambition,  cu- 
riosity, and  hope  :  this  was  not  the  least  ingenious  secret  of 
his  government. 


CHAPTER  XL 

(1807.) 

The  Emperor  in  Love — Mme.  de  X Mme.  de  Damas — The  Empress  confides 

in  me — Palace  Intrigues — Murat  is  raised  to  the  Rank  of  Prince. 

THE  Empress  could  not  forbear  from  occasionally  com- 
plaining, in  private,  that  her  son  had  no  share  in  the  promo- 
tions which  were  made  daily ;  but  she  had  the  good  sense  to 
conceal  her  dissatisfaction,  and  Eugene  himself  maintained 
an  easy  attitude,  which  was  highly  honorable  to  him,  and  in 
marked  contrast  with  the  jealous  impatience  of  Murat.  Mme. 
Murat  was  continually  importuning  the  Emperor  to  raise  her 
husband  to  a  rank  which  would  place  him  above  the  Mar- 
shals, among  whom  it  annoyed  him  to  be  included.  During 
the  winter  both  the  husband  and  wife  contrived  to  profit  by 
the  weakness  of  the  Emperor,  and  earned  a  claim  to  his  favor 
by  making  themselves  useful  in  his  new  love  affair,  as  we 
shall  presently  see. 

I  have  already  said  that  Eugene  was  captivated  by  Mme. 
de  X .  This  lady,  who  was  then  twenty-four  or  twenty- 
five  years  of  age,  was  of  fair  hair  and  complexion ;  her  blue 
eyes  could  wear  any  expression  she  chose,  except  indeed  that 
of  frankness ;  her  disposition  was  habitually  deceitful.  Her 
nose  was  aquiline  and  rather  long,  her  mouth  was  lovely,  and 
her  teeth,  which  she  frequently  displayed,  were  beautiful. 
She  was  of  middle  height,  with  an  elegant  but  too  slender 
figure ;  she  had  small  feet,  and  danced  to  perfection.  She 
had  no  remarkable  ability,  but  was  not  wanting  in  clever- 


230  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  RtiMUSAT. 

ness ;  her  manners  were  quiet  and  cold.  It  was  difficult  to 
excite  her  feelings,  still  more  difficult  to  hurt  them. 

The  Empress  had  at  first  treated  her  with  marked  dis- 
tinction. She  praised  her  beauty,  approved  of  her  style  of 
dress,  and  made  more  of  her  than  of  others,  for  the  sake  of 
her  son,  Prince  Eugene.  This,  perhaps,  led  in  the  first  in- 
stance to  the  Emperor's  taking  notice  of  her.  He  began  to 
pay  her  attention  during  the  sojourn  of  the  Court  at  Fon- 
tainebleau. 

Mme.  Murat,  who  was  the  first  to  discern  her  brother's 
inclination,  tried  to  insinuate  herself  into  the  confidence  of 
the  lady,  and  succeeded  so  far  as  to  set  her  on  her  guard 
against  the  keen  eyes  of  the  Empress.  Murat,  in  accordance, 
I  believe,  with  some  private  arrangement,  pretended  to  be 

an  admirer  of  Mme.  de  X ,  and  thus  for  a  time  threw 

the  Court  off  the  scent. 

The  Empress,  who  was  well  aware  of  the  new  passion  of 
the  Emperor,  but  could  not  discover  its  object,  at  first  sus- 
pected the  Marechale  Ney,  to  whom  he  was  in  the  habit  of 
talking  a  good  deal ;  and  for  a  few  days  that  poor  lady  was 
closely  watched.  As  usual,  the  Empress  confided  her  jealous 
suspicions  to  me,  but  I  saw  nothing  as  yet  to  justify  them. 

The  Empress  complained  to  Mme.  Louis  of  what  she 
called  the  perfidy  of  Mme.  Ney.  The  latter  was  questioned, 
and,  after  having  declared  that  her  own  feeling  toward  the 
Emperor  was  simply  fear,  she  admitted  that  he  had  some- 
times appeared  to  pay  her  attention,  and  that  Mme.  de  X 

had  congratulated  her  on  the  grand  conquest  she  was  about 
to  make.  This  was  a  flash  of  light  to  the  Empress.  She  at 
once  discovered  the  truth,  and  saw  that  Murat  was  feigning 
love  for  the  lady  only  that  he  might  be  the  bearer  of  declara- 
tions from  the  Emperor. 

In  Duroc's  deference  toward  Mme.  de  X she  also 

discerned  a  proof  of  his  master's  sentiments,  and  in  the  con- 
duct of  Mme.  Murat  a  deeply  laid  scheme  against  her  own 
peace  of  mind.  The  Emperor  began  to  pass  more  time  in 


MME.  DE  X— .  231 

his  wife's  apartments.  Nearly  every  evening  he  would  come 
down,  and  his  looks  and  words  betrayed  the  object  of  his 
preference.  If  Josephine  went  privately  to  the  theatre — for 
the  Emperor  did  not  like  her  to  appear  in  public  without 
him — he  would  join  her  party  unexpectedly;  and  day  by 
day  he  became  more  engrossed  and  less  capable  of  self-con- 
trol. Mme.  de  X maintained  an  appearance  of  indiffer- 
ence, but  she  made  use  of  every  art  of  feminine  coquetry. 
Her  dress  became  more  and  more  elegant,  her  smile  more 
subtle,  her  looks  more  full  of  meaning ;  and  it  was  soon  easy 
enough  to  guess  what  was  going  on.  The  Empress  suspected 
that  Mme.  Murat  connived  at  secret  interviews  in  her  own 
house,  and  she  afterward  became  certain  of  the  fact.  Then/ 
according  to  her  custom,  she  burst  into  tears  and  reproaches, 
and  once  more  I  found  myself  obliged  to  listen  to  confidences 
which  were  dangerous  to  receive,  and  to  give  advice  which 
was  never  heeded. 

The  Empress  attempted  expostulations,  but  they  were 
very  badly  taken.  Her  husband  lost  his  temper,  reproached 
her  with  opposing  his  pleasures,  and  ordered  her  to  be  silent ; 
and  while  she,  abandoned  to  her  grief,  was  sad  and  downcast 
in  public,  he,  more  gay,  free,  and  animated  than  we  had  yet 
seen  him,  paid  attention  to  us  all,  and  lavished  rough  com- 
pliments on  us.  On  the  occasions  of  the  Empress's  recep- 
tions, of  which  I  have  already  spoken,  he  looked  really  like 
a  Sultan.  He  would  sit  down  to  a  card-table,  often  selecting 

his  sister  Caroline,  Mme.  de  X ,  and  myself  to  make  up 

his  game ;  and,  scarcely  noticing  his  cards,  he  would  start 
some  sentimental  discussion  in  his  own  style,  with  more  wit 
than  sentiment,  occasionally  with  doubtful  taste,  but  with  a 

great  deal  of  animation.    On  these  occasions  Mme.  de  X 

was  very  reserved,  and,  being  probably  afraid  lest  I  might 
make  some  discoveries,  would  answer  in  monosyllables  only. 

Mme.  Murat  took  but  slight  interest  in  these  conversa- 
tions ;  she  always  went  straight  to  her  point,  and  cared  little 
for  detail.  As  for  me,  I  was  amused  by  them,  and  I  could 


232  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE 

take  my  part  with  a  liberty  of  spirit  not  possessed  by  the 
other  three,  who  were  all  more  or  less  preoccupied.  Some- 
times, without  naming  any  one,  Bonaparte  would  commence 
.  a  dissertation  on  jealousy,  and  then  it  was  easy  to  see  that 
he  applied  it  to  his  wife.  I  understood  him,  and  defended 
her  gayly,  as  well  as  I  could,  without  plainly  indicating  her ; 

and  I  could  see  that  Mme.  de  X and  Mme.  Murat  gave 

me  no  thanks  for  that. 

Mme.  Bonaparte  would  keep  a  watch  on  us  during  these 
conversations,  which  always  made  her  uneasy,  from  the 
other  end  of  the  room,  where  she  was  playing  at  cards.  Al- 
though she  had  reason  to  know  she  might  depend  on  me, 
"yet,  as  she  was  naturally  suspicious,  she  sometimes  feared 
that  I  would  sacrifice  her  to  the  desire  of  pleasing  the  Em- 
peror, and  she  was  also  vexed  with  me  because  I  would  not 
tax  him  with  his  conduct. 

She  would  sometimes  ask  me  to  go  to  him  and  tell  him 
of  the  harm  which,  as  she  said,  this  new  entanglement  was 
doing  him  in  the  eyes  of  the  world ;  again,  she  wanted  me 

to  contrive  that  Mme.  de  X should  be  watched  in  her 

own  house,  whither  she  knew  Bonaparte  sometimes  went  of 
an  evening ;  or  else  she  would  make  me  write,  in  her  pres- 
ence, anonymous  letters  full  of  reproaches.  These  I  wrote 
in  order  to  satisfy  her,  and  to  prevent  her  from  getting  other 
persons  to  write  them ;  but  I  carefully  burned  them  after- 
ward, although  I  assured  her  that  I  had  sent  them. 

Servants  whom  she  could  trust  were  employed  to  dis- 
cover the  proofs  she  sought  for.  The  employees  of  her 
favorite  tradespeople  were  taken  into  her  confidence,  and  I 
suffered  the  more  from  her  imprudent  conduct,  when  I 
learned  shortly  afterward  that  Mme.  Murat  put  down  all  the 
discoveries  made  by  the  Empress  to  my  account,  and  accused 
me  of  a  mean  espionage  of  which  I  was  incapable. 

The  Empress  was  the  more  distressed  because  her  son 

was  profoundly  grieved  by  this  affair.  Mme.  de  X , 

who,  either  from  coquetry,  inclination,  or  vanity,  had  at  first 


MME.  DE  X—.  233 

listened  favorably  to  him,  avoided  even  the  slightest  appear- 
ance of  friendship  with  him  since  her  new  and  more  brilliant 
conquest.  She  probably  boasted  to  the  Emperor  of  the  pas- 
sion with  which  she  had  inspired  Eugene ;  certain  it  is  that 
the  latter  was  treated  with  coldness  by  his  stepfather.  The 
Empress  showed  her  anger  at  this ;  the  Princess  Louis  was 
also  distressed,  but  she  concealed  her  feelings ;  Eugene  was 
sore  at  heart,  but  his  outward  composure  laid  him  little  open 
to  attack. 

In  all  this  the  undying  hatred  between  the  Bonapartes 
and  the  Beauharnais  was  displayed,  and  it  was  my  fate  to 
find  myself  entangled  in  it,  notwithstanding  all  my  modera- 
tion. I  have  discovered  by  experience  that  everything,  or 
nearly  everything,  depends  on  chance  at  Court.  Human 
prudence  is  not  a  sufficient  safeguard,  and  I  know  no  means 
of  escaping  from  misconstruction,  unless  the  sovereign  him- 
self be  incapable  of  suspicion.  Far  from  this,  however,  the 
Emperor  welcomed  all  gossip,  and  believed  everything  that 
was  ill-natured,  on  any  subject.  The  surest  way  to  please 
him  was  to  carry  every  rumor  to  him,  and  to  denounce 
everybody's  conduct ;  and  therefore  M.  de  Remusat,  who 
was  placed  so  near  him,  never  obtained  his  favor.  He  de- 
clined to  tread  such  a  path  to  success,  although  it  was  fre- 
quently pointed  out  to  him  by  Duroc. 

One  evening  the  Emperor,  who  was  quite  out  of  patience, 
owing  to  a  scene  with  his  wife,  in  which,  driven  to  despera- 
tion, she  had  declared  she  would  forbid  the  entry  of  her 

apartments  to  Mme.  de  X ,  addressed  himself  to  M.  de 

Remusat,  and  complained  that  I  did  not  use  my  influence 
over  her  to  dissuade  her  from  acts  of  imprudence.  He  con- 
cluded by  telling  him  that  he  wished  to  speak  to  me  in  pri- 
vate, and  that  I  was  to  ask  for  an  audience.  M.  de  Kemusat 
conveyed  this  order  to  me,  and  accordingly  on  the  following 
day  I  asked  for  an  audience,  which  was  fixed  for  the  next 
morning. 

A  hunting-party  had  been  arranged  for  that  day.     The 


234:  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R&MUSAT. 

Empress  started  first  with  the  foreign  princes ;  she  was  to 
wait  for  the  Emperor  in  the  Bois  de  Boulogne.  I  arrived 
just  as  the  Emperor  was  entering  his  carriage ;  his  suite  was 
assembled  round  him.  He  returned  to  his  cabinet  in  order 
to  receive  me,  to  the  great  astonishment  of  the  Court,  to 
whom  the  merest  trifle  was  an  event. 

He  began  by  complaining  bitterly  of  the  discussions  in 
his  household,  and  launched  out  into  invectives  against  wo- 
men in  general,  and  his  own  wife  in  particular.  He  re- 
proached me  with  assisting  her  spies,  and  accused  me  of 
many  actions  of  which  I  knew  nothing  whatever,  but  which 
had  been  reported  to  him.  I  recognized  in  all  he  said  the 
ill  offices  of  Mme.  Murat,  and,  what  hurt  me  more,  I  per- 
ceived that  in  several  instances  the  Empress  had  used  my 
name,  and  had  attributed  to  me  her  own  words  or  thoughts, 
in  order  to  strengthen  her  case.  This,  together  with  the 
Emperor's  angry  words,  distressed  me,  and  tears  rose  to 
my  eyes.  The  Emperor  noticed  them,  and  rudely  rebuked 
my  emotion  with  a  saying  which  he  frequently  used,  and 
which  I  have  already  quoted :  "  Women  have  always  two 
ways  of  producing  an  effect — paint  and  tears."  Just  then 
these  words,  uttered  in  an  ironical  tone  and  with  the  inten- 
tion of  disconcerting  me,  had  the  opposite  effect ;  they  an- 
gered me,  and  gave  me  courage  to  answer :  "  No,  Sire ;  but 
when  I  am  unjustly  accused,  I  can  not  but  weep  tears  of  in- 
dignation." 

I  must  render  this  testimony  to  the  Emperor :  he  was 
seldom  hard  upon  any  one  who  displayed  firmness ;  either 
because,  meeting  with  it  seldom,  he  was  unprepared  for  it, 
or  because  his  natural  sense  of  justice  responded  to  a  feeling 
justly  entertained. 

He  was  not  displeased  with  me.  "  Since  you  do  not  ap- 
prove," he  said,  "  of  the  watch  set  over  me  by  the  Empress, 
how  is  it  your  influence  is  not  sufficient  to  deter  her  ?  She 
humiliates  both  herself  and  me  by  surrounding  me  with 
spies;  she  only  furnishes  weapons  to  her  enemies.  Since 


MMR  DE  X—  235 

you  are  in  her  confidence,  you  must  answer  for  her,  and  I 
shall  hold  you  responsible  for  all  her  faults."  He  smiled 
slightly  as  he  spoke  these  words.  Then  I  represented  to 
him  that  I  was  tenderly  attached  to  the  Empress ;  that  I 
was  incapable  of  advising  her  to  an  improper  course  of  ac- 
tion ;  but  that  no  one  could  gain  much  influence  over  a  per- 
son of  so  passionate  a  nature.  I  told  him  that  he  showed 
no  tact  in  dealing  with  her,  and  that,  whether  he  was  right- 
ly or  wrongly  suspected,  he  was  harsh  and  treated  her  too 
roughly.  I  durst  not  blame  the  Empress  for  that  which  was 
really  blameworthy  in  her  conduct,  for  I  knew  he  would  not 
fail  to  repeat  my  words  to  his  wife.  I  ended  by  telling  him 
that  I  should  keep  away  from  the  palace  for  some  time,  and 
that  he  would  see  whether  things  went  on  any  better  in  con- 
sequence. 

He  then  said  that  he  was  not,  and  could  not  be,  in  love ; 
that  he  thought  no  more  of  Mme.  de  X than  of  any- 
body else ;  that  love  was  for  men  of  a  different  disposition 
from  his  own ;  that  he  was  altogether  absorbed  in  politics ; 
that  he  would  have  no  women  ruling  in  his  Court ;  that  they 
had  injured  Henry  IY.  and  Louis  XIV. ;  that  his  own  busi- 
ness was  a  much  more  serious  one  than  that  of  those  kings, 
and  that  Frenchmen  had  become  too  grave  to  pardon  their 
sovereign  for  recognized  liaisons  and  official  mistresses.  He 
spoke  of  his  wife's  past  conduct,  adding  that  she  had  not  the 
right  to  be  severe.  I  ventured  to  check  him  on  this  subject, 
and  he  was  not  angry  with  me.  Finally,  he  questioned  me 
as  to  the  individuals  who  were  employed  as  spies  by  the  Em- 
press. I  could  only  answer  that  I  knew  none  of  them.  Then 
he  reproached  me  with  want  of  attachment  to  himself.  I 
maintained  that  I  was  more  sincerely  devoted  than  those  who 
carried  worthless  gossip  to  him.  This  conversation  ended 
better  than  it  had  begun ;  I  could  perceive  that  I  had  made 
a  favorable  impression. 

.  This  interview  had  lasted  a  long  time ;  and  the  Empress, 
who  grew  tired  of  waiting  in  the  Bois  de  Boulogne,  had  sent 


236  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  E^MUSAT. 

a  mounted  servant  to  discover  what  was  detaining  her  hus- 
band. She  was  informed  that  he  was  alone  with  me.  Her 
uneasiness  became  very  great ;  she  returned  to  the  Tuileries, 
and,  finding  I  was  no  longer  there,  she  sent  Mme.  de  Tal- 
houet  to  m y  house  to  learn  all  that  had  taken  place.  In 
obedience  to  the  Emperor's  commands,  I  replied  that  the 
conversation  had  been  restricted  to  certain  matters  relative 
to  M.  de  Kemusat. 

In  the  evening  there  was  a  dance  at  General  Savary's,  at 
which  the  Emperor  had  promised  to  be  present.  During 
the  winter  he  took  every  opportunity  of  appearing  in  so- 
ciety ;  he  was  in  good  spirits,  and  would  even  dance,  rather 
awkwardly.  I  arrived  at  Mme.  Savary's  before  the  Court 
party.  The  Grand  Marshal  (Duroc)  came  forward  to  meet 
me,  and  offered  his  arm  to  conduct  me  to  my  place  ;  and  our 
host  was  full  of  attentions.  My  long  audience  of  that  morn- 
ing had  given  rise  to  conjectures ;  I  was  treated  with  re- 
spect, as  though  I  were  in  high  favor,  or  had  received  confi- 
dential communications.  I  could  not  help  smiling  at  the 
simple  cunning  of  these  courtiers. 

Presently  the  Emperor  and  Empress  arrived.  In  making 
his  progress  round  the  room,  Bonaparte  stopped  and  spoke 
to  me  in  a  friendly  manner.  The  Empress  was  watching  us, 
full  of  anxiety.  Mme.  Murat  looked  astonished  and  Mme. 

de  X nervous.  All  this  amused  me ;  I  did  not  foresee 

the  consequences.  The  next  day  the  Empress  pressed  me 
with  questions  which  I  took  care  not  to  answer ;  she  became 
offended,  and  declared  that  I  was  sacrificing  her  to  the  Em- 
peror, that  I  chose  the  safe  side,  and  that  I  no  more  than 
others  cared  for  her.  Her  reproaches  grieved  me  deeply. 

I  confided  all  my  troubles  to  my  dear  mother.  I  was  ac- 
quiring a  bitter  experience,  and  was  still  young  enough  to 
shed  tears  over  it.  My  mother  comforted  me,  and  advised 
me  to  hold  myself  a  little  aloof,  which  I  did ;  but  this  did 
not  help  me.  The  Emperor  obliged  me  to  speak  to  him, 
and,  when  he  reproached  his  wife  for  her  indiscreet  behavior, 


MME.  DE  DAMAS.  237 

pretended  he  was  repeating  my  opinions.  The  Empress 
treated  me  with  coldness ;  I  saw  that  she  avoided  speaking 
to  me,  and,  for  my  part,  I  did  not  consider  myself  bound  to 
seek  her  confidence. 

The  Emperor,  who  enjoyed  sowing  dissension  between 
us,  perceived  the  coolness,  and  paid  me,  in  consequence,  all 

the  more  attention;  but  Mme.  de  X ,  who  had  been 

taught  to  dislike  me,  and  was  uneasy  at  the  favor  in  which  I 
was  held,  and  who  also  perhaps  did  me  the  honor  of  feeling 
a  little  jealous,  tried  in  every  way  to  injure  me.  As  every- 
thing in  this  world  works  together  for  evil  purposes  only 
too  readily,  she  found  an  opportunity  in  which  she  was  per- 
fectly successful. 

On  the  other  hand,  Eugene  Beauharnais  and  the  Princess 
Louis  were  convinced  that  I  had  betrayed  their  mother,  in 
order  to  further  the  ambition  of  M.  de  Remusat,  who  pre- 
ferred the  favor  of  the  master  to  that  of  the  mistress.  M. 
de  Remusat  held  himself  entirely  aloof  from  all  these  mat- 
ters ;  but,  where  ambition  is  concerned,  the  probable  is  al- 
ways the  true  in  the  belief  of  dwellers  in  a  court.  Eugene, 
who  had  been  friendly  to  my  husband,  now  kept  aloof  from 
him.  As  courtiers,  our  position  was  not  an  unfavorable  one ; 
but,  as  we  were  merely  honorable  people  and  would  not  reap 
any  disgraceful  advantage  from  it,  we  were  both  greatly  dis- 
tressed. 

I  have  still  to  relate  how  Mme.  de  X contrived  to 

strike  the  final  blow.  Among  my  mother's  friends  and  mine 
was  Mme.  Charles  de  Damas,  whose  daughter,  the  wife  of 
the  Count  de  Yogiie,  was  the  intimate  friend  of  my  sister, 
and  was  also  intimate,  though  in  a  less  degree,  with  myself. 
Mme.  de  Damas  was  an  ardent  Hoyalist,  and  in  the  habit  of 
expressing  her  opinions  with  some  imprudence.  She  had 
even  been  accused,  after  the  affair  of  the  3d  Mvose  (the  in- 
fernal machine),  of  having  concealed  certain  Chouans  who 
were  implicated.  In  the  autumn  of  1804  Mme.  de  Damas 
was  exiled  to  a  distance  of  forty  leagues  from  Paris,  on  ac- 


238  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE 

count  of  some  foolish  speeches.  This  act  of  severity  sorely 
distressed  both  the  mother  and  the  daughter :  the  latter  was 
near  her  confinement,  and  I,  having  witnessed  their  tears  and 
shared  their  grief,  went  for  consolation  to  the  Empress.  She 
spoke  to  her  husband,  and  he  was  good  enough  to  listen  to 
my  petition,  and  to  grant  me  the  revocation  of  the  sentence. 

Mme.  de  Damas,  in  her  impulsive  and  affectionate  way, 
published  abroad  the  service  I  had  rendered  her,  and,  bound 
by  feelings  of  gratitude  to  the  Empress,  as  well  as  alarmed 
at  the  risk  she  had  run,  she  became  thenceforth  more  careful 
of  her  words.  She  never  mentioned  politics  to  me,  but  re- 
spected my  position  as  I  respected  her  feelings. 

It  happened,  however,  that  in  the  Marquise  de  C ,  a 

lady  who  had  formerly  been  celebrated  at  Court  and  in  so- 
ciety for  her  brilliancy  of  repartee,  Mme.  de  Damas  had  an 

enemy.  Mme.  de  C was  on  friendly  terms  with  Mme.  de 

X ,  and,  having  discovered  her  liaison  with  the  Emper- 
or, she  extorted  an  avowal  of  the  facts  from  Mme.  de  X . 

Then,  being  of  an  active  and  scheming  disposition,  she 
undertook  to  advise  her  friend  in  her  capacity  of  mistress 
to  the  sovereign.  They  had  some  conversation  about  me, 

and  Mme.  de  C ,  who  always  imagined  the  intrigues  of 

Versailles  in  the  incidents  of  the  Emperor's  Court,  con- 
cluded, with  some  show  of  probability,  that  it  was  my  inten- 
tion to  supplant  the  new  favorite.  As  I  was  reputed  to  pos- 
sess some  talent,  and  as  my  reputation  on  this  point  owed  a 
great  deal  to  my  mother's,  it  was  supposed  that  I  must  be 

fond  of  intrigue.  Mme.  de  C ,  intending  to  do  a  bad 

turn  to  Mme.  de  Damas,  and  at  the  same  time  to  injure  me, 

mentioned  her  to  Mme.  de  X as  a  woman  more  devoted 

than  ever  to  her  Eoyalist  opinions,  ready  to  enter  into  any 
secret  correspondence,  and  to  abuse  the  indulgence  with 
which  she  had  been  treated,  by  acting  against  the  Emperor 
whenever  she  could.  My  friendship  with  her  was  described 
as  more  intimate  than  it  really  was ;  and  this,  being  reported 
to  the  Emperor,  served  to  prejudice  him  against  me.  He  no 


THE  EMPRESS  CONFIDES  IN  ME.  239 

longer  summoned  me  to  join  him  at  the  card-table,  nor  con- 
versed with  me ;  I  was  not  invited  to  Malmaison  or  to  the 
hunting-parties ;  in  short,  I  found  myself  in  disgrace  without 
being  able  to  guess  at  the  cause,  for,  on  account  of  my  fail- 
ing health,  I  was  living  in  comparative  solitude  and  retire- 
ment. My  husband  and  I  were  too  closely  united  for  dis- 
grace to  fall  on  one  without  including  the  other,  and  neither 
of  us  could  understand  why  we  were  thus  treated. 

As  the  Emperor's  friendship  for  me  cooled,  I  regained 
the  confidence  of  his  wife,  who  took  me  back  into  favor  as 
lightly  as  she  had  given  me  up,  and  without  a  word  of  ex- 
planation. By  this  time  I  knew  her  sufficiently  to  under- 
stand that  explanations  would  be  useless.  She  enlightened 
me  respecting  the  Emperor's  displeasure.  She  had  learned 
from  him  that  Mme.  de  C and  Mme.  de  X had  in- 
formed against  me.  He  had  gone  so  far  as  to  acknowledge  to 
his  wife  that  he  was  in  love,  and  gave  her  to  understand  that 
he  must  not  be  thwarted ;  adding,  in  order  to  console  her, 
that  it  was  a  passing  fancy,  which  would  only  be  increased  by 
opposition,  but  would  soon  pass  away  if  it  were  not  balked. 

The  Empress  made  up  her  mind  to  endurance  ;  but  she 

never  addressed  Mme.  de  X .     The  latter  cared  little  for 

that,  however,  and  regarded  the  conjugal  broils  of  which  she 
was  the  cause  with  impudent  indifference.  Besides,  under 
the  direction  of  Mme.  Murat,  she  ministered  to  the  Emper- 
or's tastes  by  retailing  to  him  a  great  deal  of  evil  of  a  great 
number  of  people.  Many  persons  were  ruined  during  her 
spell  of  favor,  and  she  fostered  the  worst  qualities  of  the 
Emperor's  suspicious  nature. 

When  I  learned  this  new  accusation  against  me,  I  again 
requested  an  audience  of  him  ;  but  this  time  his  manner  was 
stern.  He  reproached  me  with  being  friendly  only  with  his 
enemies,  with  having  defended  the  Polignacs,  with  being  an 
agent  of  the  "aristocrats."  "I  intended  to  make  a  great 
lady  of  you,"  he  said — "to  raise  your  fortunes  to  a  great 
height ;  but  all  that  can  only  be  the  reward  of  entire  devo- 
20 


MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  KfiMUSAT. 

tion.  You  must  break  with  your  former  friends,  and,  the 
next  time  Mme.  de  Damas  comes  to  your  house,  you  must 
refuse  her  admittance,  and  have  her  told  that  you  can  not 
associate  with  my  enemies.  Then  I  shall  believe  in  your 
attachment."  I  made  no  attempt  to  point  out  to  him  how 
contrary  such  a  mode  of  action  would  be  to  all  my  habits; 
but  I  consented  to  refrain  from  seeing  Mme.  de  Damas, 
whose  conduct,  at  least  since  the  pardon  had  been  granted 
her,  I  defended.  He  spoke  to  me  very  severely;  he  was 
deeply  prejudiced,  and  I  saw  that  I  must  only  trust  to  time 
to  open  his  eyes. 

A  few  days  later  Mme.  de  Damas  was  again  ordered  into 
exile.  She  was  ill  in  bed ;  and  the  Emperor  sent  Corvisart 
to  her,  to  certify  whether,  in  fact,  she  could  not  be  removed. 
Corvisart  was  a  friend  of  mine,  and  gave  his  opinion  accord- 
ing to  my  wishes ;  but  at  length  Mme.  de  Damas  recovered 
and  left  Paris.  It  was  long  before  she  returned.  I  no  longer 
visited  her,  nor  did  she  come  to  me,  but  she  retained  her 
former  affection  for  me,  and  perfectly  understood  the  mo- 
tives which  constrained  me  to  act  as  I  did.  Count  Charles 
de  Damas,  who  was  straightforward,  simple,  and  less  indis- 
creet than  his  wife,  was  never  annoyed  by  the  police,  while 
they  kept  constant  watch  on  Mme.  de  Damas.  Some  years 
later,  the  Emperor  gave  Mme.  de  Yogiie  to  understand  that 
he  wished  her  to  be  presented  at  Court :  this  was  during  the 
reign  of  the  Archduchess.* 

Meanwhile  the  Bonapartes  triumphed.  Eugene,  the  con- 
stant object  of  their  jealousy,  was  positively  badly  treated, 
and  was  a  source  of  secret  trouble  to  the  Emperor.  Sud- 
denly, toward  the  end  of  January,  in  very  severe  weather, 
Eugene  received  orders  to  proceed  with  his  regiment  to  Italy 
within  four  and  twenty  hours.  Eugene  felt  convinced  that 
he  was  in  complete  disgrace.  The  Empress,  believing  this  to 
be  the  doing  of  Mme.  de  X ,  wept  bitterly,  but  her  son 

*  On  the  death  of  M.  de  Vogue,  his  widow  married  the  Count  de  Chastellux, 
now  a  colonel,  and  brother-in-law  to  the  imprudent  La  Bedoyere. 


A  BROTHERS  OBEDIENCE.  241 

strictly  forbade  her  to  make  any  appeal.  He  took  leave  of 
the  Emperor,  who  received  him  with  coldness,  and  we  heard 
the  following  day  that  the  Guards'  Hegiment  of  Guides  had 
departed,  its  colonel  marching  at  its  head,  notwithstanding 
the  inclemency  of  the  season. 

The  Princess  Louis,  in  speaking  to  me  of  this  harsh  act, 
expressed  her  pride  in  her  brother's  obedience.  "If  the 
Emperor,"  she  said,  "  had  exacted  such  a  thing  from  a  mem- 
ber of  his  own  family,  you  would  have  seen  what  a  noise 
would  have  been  made ;  but  not  one  word  has  been  uttered 
in  this  case,  and  I  think  Bonaparte  must  be  impressed  by 
such  an  act  of  submission."  And  in  fact  he  was,  but  still 
more  by  the  ill-natured  satisfaction  of  his  brothers  and  sisters. 
He  liked  to  disappoint  them ;  and  although,  in  a  fit  of  jeal- 
ousy, he  had  sent  away  his  stepson,  he  immediately  re- 
warded him  for  his  good  behavior.  On  the  1st  of  February, 
1805,  the  Senate  received  two  letters  *  from  the  Emperor. 

*  The  following  are  the  two  messages  addressed  by  the  Emperor  on  the  same 
day,  12th  Pluvi6se,  year  13  (1st  February,  1805),  to  the  Senate: 

"  SENATORS  :  We  have  appointed  our  brother-in-law,  Marshal  Murat,  to  be 
Grand  Admiral  of  the  Empire.  We  desire  to  recognize  not  only  his  services  to  the 
country,  and  the  particular  attachment  he  has  shown  to  our  person  throughout  his 
whole  life,  but  also  what  is  due  to  the  luster  and  dignity  of  the  Crown,  by  raising 
to  the  rank  of  Prince  an  individual  so  closely  allied  to  us  by  the  ties  of  blood." 

"  SENATORS  :  We  have  appointed  our  stepson,  Eugene  Beauharnais,  Vice- 
Arch-Chaneellor  of  State  to  the  Empire.  Among  all  the  acts  of  our  sovereignty, 
there  is  not  one  more  gratifying  to  our  heart.  Brought  up  by  our  care,  and 
from  his  childhood,  under  our  own  people,  he  has  proved  himself  worthy  of  imi- 
tating, and,  with  the  help  of  God,  of  some  day  surpassing,  the  ^samples  and  the 
lessons  we  have  given  him.  Although  he  is  still  young,  we  shall  from  this  day 
forward  consider  him,  on  account  of  the  experience  we  have  had  of  his  conduct 
in  the  most  momentous  circumstances,  as  one  of  the  pillars  of  our  throne,  and 
one  of  the  most  able  defenders  of  his  country.  In  the  midst  of  the  cares  and 
trials  of  the  high  rank  to  which  we  have  been  called,  our  heart  has  sought  for 
affection  in  the  tenderness  and  consoling  friendship  of  this  child  of  our  adop- 
tion; a  consolation  which  is,  no  doubt,  necessary  to  all  men,  but  preeminently 
so  to  us,  whose  every  moment  is  devoted  to  the  affairs  of  nations.  Our  paternal 
blessing  will  follow  this  young  Prince  throughout  his  whole  career,  and,  with 
the  help  of  Providence,  he  will  one  day  be  worthy  of  the  approbation  of  pos- 
terity."—P.  R. 


24:2  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  EtiMUSAT. 

In  one  he  announced  the  elevation  of  Marshal  Murat  to  the 
rank  of  Prince  and  Grand  Admiral  of  the  Empire.  This 
was  the  reward  of  his  recent  acts  of  complaisance,  and  the 
result  of  Mme.  Murat's  importunities.  In  the  other  letter, 
which  was  couched  in  nattering  and  affectionate  terms  toward 
Eugene,  he  was  created  Yice- Arch-Chancellor  of  State.  This 
was  one  of  the  great  posts  of  the  Empire.  Eugene  heard  of 
his  promotion  when  ha  was  a  few  miles  from  Lyons,  where 
the  courier  found  him  on  horseback  at  the  head  of  his  regi- 
ment, covered  with  thickly  falling  snow. 

Before  I  deal  with  the  union  of  the  crown  of  Italy  with 
that  of  France,  a  great  event  which  afforded  us  a  new  spec- 
tacle, and  was  the  cause  of  the  war  that  broke  out  in  the 
autumn  of  this  year,  I  will  relate  all  that  remains  to  be  told 
concerning  Mme.  de  X . 

She  seemed  to  engross  the  Emperor's  thoughts  more  and 
more ;  and,  as  she  became  assured  of  her  power,  so  she  be- 
came less  circumspect  in  her  conduct  toward  the  Empress, 
and  seemed  to  delight  in  her  misery.  During  a  short  stay 
which  we  made  at  Malmaison,  appearances  were  more  than 
ever  outraged.  To  the  surprise  of  every  one,  the  Emperor 

would  walk  about  the  grounds  with  Mme.  de  X and 

young  Mme.  Savary — whose  eyes  and  tongue  were  not  at  all 
formidable — and  he  devoted  less  time  than  usual  to  business. 
The  Empress  remained  in  her  room,  weeping,  tortured  with 
apprehension,  brooding  upon  recognized  liaisons,  disgrace 
and  oblivion  for  herself,  and  possibly  divorce,  the  continu- 
ally recurring'  object  of  her  apprehensions.  She  no  longer 
had  courage  for  useless  altercations ;  but  her  sadness  bore 
witness  to  her  grief,  and  at  last  touched  her  husband's  heart. 
Perhaps  his  love  for  her  revived,  or  possession  weakened  his 

passion  for  Mme.  de  X ,  or  he  became  ashamed  of  the 

sway  the  latter  exercised  over  him ;  but,  whatever  was  the 
cause,  that  which  he  had  predicted  of  himself  came  to  pass. 
One  day,  when  he  was  alone  with  his  wife  and  saw  her 
weeping  at  something  he  had  said,  he  suddenly  resumed  the 


AN  INTERVIEW.  243 

affectionate  manner  of  former  times,  and,  admitting  her  to 
the  most  intimate  confidence,  owned  to  her  once  more  that 
he  had  been  very  much  infatuated,  but  said  that  it  was  all 
over.  He  added  that  he  had  detected  an  attempt  to  govern 

him — that  Mme.  de  X had  told  him  a  number  of  very 

ill-natured  stories  ;  and  he  actually  concluded  by  asking  the 
Empress  to  assist  him  to  put  an  end  to  a  liaison  which  he  no 
longer  cared  about. 

The  Empress  was  not  in  the  least  vindictive ;  it  is  but 
just  to  say  that  for  her.  So  soon  as  she  found  that  she  no 
longer  had  anything  to  fear,  her  anger  vanished.  Delighted 
to  be  rid  of  her  trouble,  she  showed  no  severity  toward  the 
Emperor,  but  once  more  became  the  gentle  and  indulgent 
wife,  always  ready  to  forgive  him.  She  objected  to  any 
publicity  on  this  occasion,  and  even  promised  her  husband 

that,  if  he  would  alter  his  behavior  to  Mme.  de  X ,  she, 

on  her  part,  would  alter  hers  also,  and  would  shield  the  lady 
from  any  annoyance  which  might  result  from  the  change. 
She  only  claimed  the  right  to  an  interview  with  Mme.  de 

X .  Accordingly,  she  sent  for  her,  and  spoke  to  her 

plainly  and  frankly,  pointing  out  the  risk  she  had  run,  ex- 
cusing her  apparent  levity  on  the  plea  of  her  youth  and  im- 
prudence, recommending  greater  discretion  for  the  future, 
and  promising  that  the  past  should  be  forgotten. 

During  this  conversation  Mme.  de  X remained  per- 
fectly self-possessed,  calmly  denying  that  she  deserved  any 
such  admonitions,  evincing  no  emotion,  not  a  trace  of  grati- 
tude. In  sight  of  the  whole  Court,  which  for  some  time 
continued  to  observe  her,  she  maintained  a  cool  and  self- 
contained  demeanor,  which  proved  that  her  heart  was  not 
much  concerned  in  the  intimacy  now  broken  off,  and  also 
that  she  could  keep  her  private  feelings  well  in  check — for 
it  is  difficult  to  believe  that  her  vanity,  at  any  rate,  was  not 
deeply  mortified.  The  Emperor,  who,  as  I  have  already 
said,  dreaded  the  least  appearance  of  being  ruled  by  anybody, 
ostentatiously  exhibited  his  freedom.  He  was  not  even 


244  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R^MUSAT. 

commonly  civil  to  Mme.  de  X ;  he  never  looked  at  her ; 

and  he  spoke  slightingly  of  her,  either  to  Mme.  Bonaparte, 
who  could  not  deny  herself  the  pleasure  of  repeating  his 
words,  or  to  men  with  whom  he  was  on  familiar  terms.  He 
was  careful  to  explain  that  this  had  only  been  a  passing 
fancy,  and  would  relate  the  successive  phases  of  it  with  in- 
decent candor,  most  insulting  toward  her  who  had  been  its 
object.  He  was  ashamed  of  his  infatuation,  for  it  was  a 
proof  that  he  had  submitted  to  a  power  stronger  than  his 
own. 

This  behavior  confirmed  me  in  a  belief  which  I  had 
often  expounded  to  the  Empress  in  order  to  console  her.  To 
be  the  wife  of  such  a  man  might  be  a  grand  and  enviable 
position,  gratifying  to  one's  pride  at  least ;  but  to  be  his  mis- 
tress could  never  be  otherwise  than  unsatisfactory,  for  his 
was  not  a  nature  to  compensate  a  weak  and  loving  woman 
for  the  sacrifices  she  would  have  to  make  for  him,  nor  to  af- 
ford an  ambitious  one  the  means  of  exercising  power. 

With  the  short  reign  of  Mme.  de  X the  influence  of 

Murat  and  the  Bonapartes  came  for  the  time  being  to  an 
end ;  for,  on  the  reconciliation  of  the  Emperor  with  his  wife, 
his  former  confidence  in  her  revived,  and  he  heard  from  her 
lips  of  all  the  petty  schemes  of  which  she  had  been  the  vic- 
tim and  himself  the  object.  I  profited  in  a  measure  by  the 
change  ;  yet  the  impression  which  had  been  made  could  not 
be  altogether  effaced,  and  the  Emperor  retained  his  convic- 
tion that  M.  de  Eemusat  and  I  were  incapable  of  the  sort  of 
devotion  that  he  required,  a  devotion  claiming  the  sacrifice 
both  of  personal  inclinations  and  of  those  convenances  which 
he  despised.  He  had  a  right,  perhaps,  to  expect  the  former : 
one  ought  to  renounce  a  Court  life,  unless  one  can  make  it  the 
only  sphere  of  one's  thoughts  and  actions ;  and  neither  my 
husband  nor  I  was  capable  of  doing  so.  I  have  always  longed  to 
attach  myself  with  all  my  heart  to  the  duties  of  my  state,  and 
at  this  period  I  was  too  heart-sore  not  to  feel  some  constraint 
in  performing  those  which  devolved  on  me.  I  began  to  see 


DIFFERENCE  OF  CHARACTER  IN  SOVEREIGNS.  245 

that  the  Emperor  was  not  the  man  I  had  taken  him  for. 
Already  he  inspired  me  with  fear  rather  than  with  affection  ; 
and,  in  proportion  as  my  assiduity  in  obeying  him  increased, 
I  felt  the  sharp  pain  of  vanishing  illusions,  and  I  suffered 
beforehand  from  all  that  I  foresaw.  The  quaking  of  the 
earth  on  which  we  stood  alarmed  both  M.  de  Remusat  and 
myself,  and  he  especially  resigned  himself  with  difficulty  to 
a  life  which  was  extremely  unpleasing  to  him. 

When  I  recall  these  troubles  now,  how  happy  I  am  to 
see  him,  quiet  and  contented,  at  the  head  of  affairs  in  an  im- 
portant province,  honorably  fulfilling  the  duty  of  a  good 
citizen,  and  serving  his  country  usefully !  *  Can  there  be  a 
worthier  employment  of  the  faculties  of  an  enlightened  and 
high-hearted  man,  or  a  greater  contrast  with  the  restless, 
troublesome,  not  to  say  ridiculous  life  which  has  to  be  led, 
without  one  moment's  intermission,  in  the  courts  of  kings  ? 
I  say  courts,  because  they  are  all  alike.  No  doubt  the  dif- 
ference of  character  in  sovereigns  has  some  influence  over 
the  lives  of  those  who  surround  them ;  there  are  shades  of 
difference  in  the  homage  exacted  by  Louis  XIV.,  our  own 
King  Louis  XVIII.,  the  Emperor  Alexander,  or  Bonaparte. 
But,  though  masters  may  differ,  courtiers  are  everywhere  the 
same ;  the  same  passions  are  in  play,  for  vanity  is  invariably 
their  secret  spring.  Jealousy,  the  longing  to  supplant  others, 
the  fear  of  being  stopped  on  the  road,  or  finding  others  pre- 
ferred to  one's  self — these  do,  and  always  will,  cause  similar 
perturbations ;  and  I  am  prof  oundly  persuaded  that  any  one, 
who,  dwelling  in  a  palace,  wishes  to  exercise  his  faculties  of 
thinking  and  of  feeling,  must  be  unhappy. 

Toward  the  end  of  this  winter  the  Imperial  Court  was 
again  augmented.  A  number  of  persons,  among  whom  I 
could  name  some  who  are  now  inexorable  to  all  who  ever 
were  in  the  Emperor's  service,  were  eagerly  bidding  for  place. 
The  Empress,  M.  de  Talleyrand,  and  M.  de  B£musat  received 

*  At  the  time  I  write,  September,  1818,  my  husband  is  Prefect  of  the  D6par- 
tement  du  Nord. 


24:6  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  RfiMUSAT. 

their  requests,  and  handed  long  lists  to  Bonaparte,  who  would 
smile  when  he  saw  in  the  same  column  the  names  of  ci-de- 
vant Liberals,  of  soldiers  who  had  been  jealous  of  his  pro- 
motion, and  of  gentlemen  who,  after  having  jeered  at  what 
they  called  our  farce  of  royalty,  were  now  all  begging  to  be 
allowed  to  play  parts  in  it.  Some  of  these  petitions  were 
granted.  Mesdames  de  Turenne,  de  Montalivet,  de  Bouille, 
Devaux,  and  Marescot  were  appointed  Ladies-in- Waiting ; 
MM.  Hedouville,  de  Croij,  de  Mercy  d'Argenteau,  de 
Tournon,  and  de  Bondy  were  made  Chamberlains  to  the 
Emperor ;  MM.  de  Beam,  de  Courtomer,  and  the  Prince  de 
Gavre,  Chamberlains  to  the  Empress ;  M.  de  Canisy,  Equer- 
ry;  M.  de  Bausset,  Prefect  of  the  Palace,  etc. 

This  numerous  Court  consisted  of  various  elements  for- 
eign to  each  other,  but  all  were  brought  to  one  level  by  fear 
of  the  all-powerful  master.  There  was  little  rivalry  among 
the  ladies ;  they  were  strangers  to  each  other,  and  did  not 
become  intimate.  The  Empress  treated  them  all  alike. 
Mme.  de  la  Rochefoucauld,  light-hearted  and  easy-tempered, 
showed  no  jealousy  toward  any  one.  The  Mistress  of  the 
Robes  was  amiable,  silent,  and  nothing  more.  Day  by  day 
I  drew  back  from  the  somewhat  dangerous  friendship  of  the 
Empress;  but  I  must  own  that  such  was  her  evenness  of 
temper,  so  gracious  was  her  bearing,  that  the  Court  circle  by 
which  she  was  surrounded  was  free  from  disturbance  or  jeal- 
ousy. 

It  was  not  so  in  the  case  of  the  Emperor — but  then  he 
himself  designedly  kept  up  a  state  of  disquiet.  For  instance, 
M.  de  Talleyrand,  who  had  slightly  diminished  the  impor- 
tance of  M.  de  Remusat's  position,  not  with  the  intention  of 
injuring  him,  but  in  order  to  satisfy  some  new-comers  who 
were  jealous  of  my  husband,  was  brought  into  closer  contact 
with  him  afterward,  and  began  to  appreciate  his  worth  and 
to  show  some  interest  in  him.  Bonaparte  perceived  this. 
The  slightest  appearance  of  private  friendship  alarmed  him, 
and  he  took  the  minutest  precautions  to  prevent  anything  of 


BONAPARTE'S  ADVICE.  247 

the  kind ;  so  he  spoke  to  m  j  husband  one  day  in  a  tone  of 
unusual  cordiality.  "  Take  care,"  said  he,  "  M.  de  Talley- 
rand seems  to  be  making  advances  to  you ;  but  I  know  to  a 
certainty  that  he  bears  you  no  good  will." 

"  And  why  should  M.  de  Talleyrand  bear  me  ill  will  ? " 
said  my  husband  to  me,  on  repeating  these  words.  "We  could 
not  tell  why,  but  this  speech  gave  us  a  feeling  of  distrust, 
which  was  all  that  the  Emperor  wanted. 

Such  was  the  state  of  things  at  the  Emperor's  Court  in 
the  spring  of  1805.  I  will  now  retrace  my  steps  and  give  an 
account  of  the  momentous  resolution  that  was  come  to  con- 
cerning the  crown  of  Italy. 


BOOK    II. 


CHAPTEE  XII. 

(1805.) 

Opening  of  the  Session  of  the  Senate— M.  de  Talleyrand's  Eeport— Letter  from  the 
Emperor  to  the  King  of  England — Union  of  the  Crown  of  Italy  to  the  Empire — 
Mme.  Bacciochi  becomes  Princess  of  Piombino — Performance  of  "  Athalie" — 
The  Emperor  goes  to  Italy— His  Dissatisfaction— M.  de  Talleyrand— Prospect 
of  War  with  Austria. 

ON  the  4th  of  February,  1805,  we  were  informed  by  the 
"  Moniteur  "  that  the  King  of  England  had  intimated,  in  his 
speech  on  the  opening  of  Parliament  on  the  16th  of  January, 
that  the  Emperor  had  made  fresh  propositions  of  reconcilia- 
tion. The  Government  had  replied  that  nothing  could  be 
agreed  upon  without  previously  conferring  with  the  other 
Powers  of  the  Continent,  and  especially  with  the  Emperor 
Alexander. 

According  to  custom,  some  sharp  comments  were  made 
upon  this  speech,  which,  while  they  put  forward  the  friendly 
relations  that  existed — at  least,  outwardly — between  ourselves 
and  the  sovereigns  of  Europe,  yet  admitted  a  certain  coolness 
between  the  Emperors  of  Russia  and  of  France,  and  attributed 
this  coolness  to  the  intrigues  of  MM.  de  Marcoff  and  de  Yo- 
ronzoff,  who  were  both  partisans  of  the  English  policy.  The 
King's  speech  also  announced  war  between  England  and 
Spain. 

On  the  same  day,  the  4th  of  February,  the  Senate  having 
been  assembled,  M.  de  Talleyrand  presented  a  report,  very 


LETTER  FROM  THE  EMPEROR.  249 

ably  drawn  up,  in  which  he  expounded  the  system  of  con- 
duct adopted  by  Bonaparte  toward  the  English.  He  de- 
scribed it  as  a  constant  effort  for  peace,  while  entertaining 
no  fear  of  war.  He  drew  attention  to  the  state  of  our  prepa- 
rations which  threatened  the  English  coasts,  many  flotillas 
being  equipped  and  ready  in  the  harbors  ;  and  to  the  army, 
large  in  numbers  and  high  in  heart.  He  gave  an  account  of 
the  means  of  defense  which  the  enemy  had  gathered  together 
on  the  coasts,  and  which  proved  that  the  landing  of  the 
French  was  not  looked  upon  as  impossible ;  and,  after  be- 
stowing the  highest  praise  on  the  conduct  of  the  Emperor, 
he  read  to  the  assembled  Senate  the  following  letter,  ad- 
dressed to  the  King  of  England : 

"  SIR  AND  BROTHER  : 

"  Having  been  called  by  Providence,  and  by  the  voice  of 
the  Senate,  the  people,  and  the  army,  to  the  throne  of  France, 
my  first  feeling  is  a  desire  for  peace. 

"  France  and  England  are  wasting  their  prosperity.  They 
may  contend  for  centuries  ;  but  are  their  Governments  right- 
fully fulfilling  their  most  sacred  duty,  and  does  not  their  con- 
science reproach  them  with  so  much  blood  shed  in  vain,  for 
no  definite  end  ?  I  am  not  ashamed  to  take  the  initiative. 
I  have,  I  think,  sufficiently  proved  to  the  whole  world  that  I 
do  not  fear  the  chances  of  war.  Indeed,  war  can  bring  me 
nothing  to  fear.  Peace  is  my  heartfelt  wish,  but  war  has 
never  been  adverse  to  my  renown.  I  implore  your  Majesty 
not  to  deprive  yourself  of  the  happiness  of  bestowing  peace 
on  the  world.  Do  not  delegate  so  consolatory  an  action  to 
your  children.  Never  was  there  a  better  occasion,  nor  a 
more  favorable  moment  for  imposing  silence  on  passion,  and 
for  listening  only  to  the  voice  of  humanity  and  reason.  If 
this  opportunity  be  lost,  what  term  can  be  assigned  to  a  war 
which  all  my  endeavors  might  fail  to  terminate  ?  In  the  last 
ten  years  your  Majesty's  kingdom  has  increased  in  magnitude 
and  wealth  by  more  than  the  whole  extent  of  Europe  ;  your 


250  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R&MU8AT. 

nation  has  reached  the  highest  point  of  prosperity.  What 
do  you  hope  to  gain  by  war  ?  The  coalition  of  some  con- 
tinental powers  ?  The  Continent  will  remain  tranquil.  A 
coalition  would  but  increase  the  preponderance  and  the  con- 
tinental greatness  of  France.  To  renew  internal  difficulties  ? 
The  times  are  no  longer  the  same.  To  destroy  our  revenues  ? 
Revenues  founded  on  good  husbandry  are  not  to  be  destroyed. 
To  snatch  her  colonies  from  France  ?  Colonies  are  objects 
of  but  secondary  importance  to  France ;  and  does  not  your 
Majesty  already  possess  more  than  you  can  keep  ?  If  your 
Majesty  will  reflect  on  it,  you  will  see  that  war  will  be  with- 
out an  object,  without  any  probable  result  for  yourself.  Ah ! 
how  sad  a  prospect  is  it  to  engage  nations  in  war  for  war's 
sake! 

"  The  world  is  large  enough  for  our  two  nations  to  live 
in  it,  and  the  power  of  reason  is  sufficient  to  enable  us  to 
overcome  all  difficulties,  if  on  both  sides  there  is  the  will  to 
do  BO.  In  any  case,  I  have  fulfilled  a  duty  which  I  hold  to 
be  righteous,  and  which  is  dear  to  my  heart.  I  trust  your 
Majesty  will  believe  in  the  sincerity  of  the  sentiments  I  have 
just  expressed,  and  in  my  earnest  desire  to  give  you  a  proof 

of  them.     On  this,  etc. 

(Signed)  "  NAPOLEON. 

«PAMS  ji2Niv6se,yeari3. 

'(  Id  January,  1806." 

After  having  eulogized  this  letter  (surely  a  remarkable 
one !)  as  a  striking  proof  of  Bonaparte's  love  for  the  French, 
of  his  desire  for  peace,  and  of  his  generous  moderation,  M. 
de  Talleyrand  communicated  the  reply  of  Lord  Mulgrave, 
the  Foreign  Secretary.  It  was  as  follows : 

"  His  Majesty  has  received  the  letter  addressed  to  him  by 
the  chief  of  the  French  Government,  dated  the  2d  inst. 

"  His  Majesty  has  no  dearer  wish  than  to  embrace  the 
first  opportunity  of  once  more  procuring  for  his  subjects  the 
advantages  of  a  peace  which  shall  be  founded  on  bases  not 


LORD  MULGRAVE'S  REPLY.  251 

incompatible  with,  the  permanent  security  and  the  essential 
interests  of  his  States.  His  Majesty  is  convinced  that  this 
end  can  only  be  attained  by  an  arrangement  which  will  pro- 
vide alike  for  the  future  security  and  tranquillity  of  Europe, 
and  prevent  a  renewal  of  the  dangers  and  misfortunes  which 
have  beset  the  Continent. 

"  His  Majesty,  therefore,  feels  it  to  be  impossible  to  reply 
more  decisively  to  the  question  which  has  been  put  to  him, 
until  he  has  had  time  to  communicate  with  those  continental 
Powers  with  whom  he  is  allied,  and  particularly  with  the 
Emperor  of  Eussia,  who  has  given  the  strongest  proofs  of 
his  wisdom  and  good  feeling,  and  of  the  deep  interest  which 
he  takes  in  the  security  and  independence  of  Europe. 

"  Uth  January,  1805." 

The  vague  and  indefinite  character  of  this  thoroughly 
diplomatic  reply  exhibited  the  Emperor's  letter  to  great 
advantage.  That  letter  was  firm  in  tone,  and  bore  every 
appearance  of  magnanimous  sincerity.  It  had,  therefore,  a 
good  effect,  and  the  various  reports  of  those  whose  task  it 
was  to  present  it  to  the  three  great  bodies  of  the  State  put  it 
in  the  most  favorable  light.  . 

The  report  of  Kegnault  de  Saint-Jean  d'Angely,  Coun- 
cilor of  State,  is  remarkable  and  interesting  even  now.  The 
praises  accorded  to  the  Emperor,  thpugh  carried  to  excess, 
are  finely  phrased ;  the  picture  of  Europe  is  ably  drawn ; 
that  of  the  evil  which  war  must  entail  on  England  is  at  least 
specious ;  and,  finally,  the  description  of  our  prosperity  at 
that  period  is  impressive,  and  very  little,  if  at  all,  exagger- 
ated. 

"France,"  he  said,  "has  nothing  to  ask  from  Heaven,  but 
that  the  sun  may  continue  to  shine,  the  rain  to  fall  on  our 
fields,  and  the  earth  to  render  the  seed  fruitful." 

All  this  was  true  then,  and,  had  a  wise  administration,  a 
moderate  government,  and  a  liberal  constitution  been  given  to 
France,  that  prosperity  would  have  been  consolidated.  But 


252        MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R^SMUSAT. 

constitutional  ideas  formed  no  part  of  Bonaparte's  plan. 
Perhaps  he  really  believed,  as  he  often  said,  that  the  French 
character  and  the  geographical  position  of  France  were  op- 
posed to  representative  government.  Perhaps,  conscious  of 
his  own  strength  and  ability,  he  could  not  make  up  his  mind 
to  sacrifice  to  the  future  well-being  of  France  those  advan- 
tages which  he  believed  he  could  give  us  by  the  mere  strength 
of  his  will.  Whatever  was  the  case,  he  seldom  lost  an  oppor- 
tunity of  disparaging  our  neighbor's  form  of  government. 

"  The  unfortunate  position  in  which  you  have  placed  your 
nation,"  he  wrote  in  the  "  Moniteur,"  addressing  himself  to 
the  English  Cabinet,  "  can  only  be  explained  by  the  ill  for- 
tune of  a  State  whose  home  policy  is  insecure,  and  whose 
Government  is  the  wretched  tool  of  Parliamentary  factions 
and  of  a  powerful  oligarchy." 

Although  he  felt  at  times  that  he  was  opposing  the  spirit 
of  the  age,  he  believed  himself  strong  enough  to  resist  it.  At 
a  later  period  he  said :  "  During  my  lifetime  I  shall  reign  as 
I  please;  but  my  son  must  perforce  be  a  Liberal."  And 
meanwhile  he  pictured  to  himself  the  creation  of  feudal  states, 
believing  that  he  could  make  them  acceptable,  and  preserve 
them  from  the  criticism  which  was  beginning  to  assail  ancient 
institutions,  by  establishing  them  on  a  scale  so  grand  that,  as 
our  pride  would  be  enlisted,  our  reason  might  be  silenced. 
He  believed  that  once  again  he  could  exhibit  what  history 
has  already  witnessed,  the  world  subject  to  a  "  People-King," 
but  that  royalty  was  to  be  represented  in  his  own  person. 
A  combination  of  Eastern  and  Roman  institutions,  bearing 
also  some  resemblance  to  the  times  of  Charlemagne,  was  to 
transform  the  sovereigns  of  Europe  into  great  feudatories  of 
the  French  Empire ;  and  perhaps,  if  the  sea  had  not  effectu- 
ally preserved  England  from  invasion,  this  gigantic  project 
might  have  been  carried  out. 

Shortly  after,  the  Emperor  laid  the  foundation-stone  of 
this  brain-built  edifice.  I  allude  to  the  union  of  the  Iron 
Crown  with  that  of  France. 


UNION  OF  THE  GROWN  OF  ITALY.  253 

On  the  17th  of  March  M.  de  Melzi,  Vice-President  of  the 
Italian  Kepublic,  accompanied  by  the  principal  members  of 
the  Council  of  State  and  a  numerous  deputation  of  presi- 
dents of  the  electoral  colleges,  deputies  from  the  Corps  Le- 
gislatif,  and  other  important  persons,  was  received  by  the 
Emperor  on  his  throne,  and  submitted  to  him  the  ardent 
desire  of  the  Council  that  he  would  graciously  consent  to 
reign  over  the  ultramontane  republic  also.  "Our  present 
Government,"  said  M.  de  Melzi,  "  can  not  continue,  because 
it  throws  us  behind  the  age  in  which  we  live.  Constitution- 
al monarchy  is  everywhere  indicated  by  the  finger  of  progress. 

"  The  Italian  Kepublic  claims  a  King,  and  her  interests 
demand  that  this  King  should  be  Napoleon,  on  the  condition 
that  the  two  crowns  shall  be  united  on  his  head  only,  and 
that,  so  soon  as  the  Mediterranean  is  once  more  free,  he  will 
himself  nominate  a  successor  of  his  own  blood." 

Bonaparte  replied  that  he  had  always  labored  for  the  wel- 
fare of  Italy ;  that  for  this  end  he  would  accept  the  crown, 
because  he  believed  that  any  other  course  would  just  now  be 
fatal  to  her  independence;  and  that  afterward,  when  the 
time  came  for  so  doing,  he  would  gladly  place  the  Iron 
Crown  on  some  younger  head,  as  he  should  always  be  ready 
to  sacrifice  himself  for  the  interests  of  the  States  over  which 
he  was  called  to  reign. 

On  the  following  day,  the  18th  of  March,  he  proceeded 
to  the  Senate  in  state,  and  announced  both  the  request  of  the 
Council  and  his  own  consent.  M.  de  Melzi  and  all  the  Ital- 
ians took  the  oaths,  and  the  Senate  approved  and  applauded 
as  usual.  The  Emperor  concluded  his  speech  by  declaring 
that  the  genius  of  evil  would  seek  in  vain  to  rekindle  the  fire 
of  war  on  the  Continent ;  that  which  had  been  united  to  the 
Empire  would  remain  united. 

He  doubtless  foresaw  that  this  event  would  be  the  occa- 
sion of  an  early  war,  at  least  with  the  Emperor  of  Austria, 
which,  however,  he  was  far  from  dreading.  The  army  was 
becoming  weary  of  inaction ;  the  invasion  of  England  was  * 


254:  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  RfiMUSAT. 

too  perilous.  It  might  be  that  favorable  circumstances  would 
render  the  landing  possible,  but  how  could  the  army  main- 
tain its  footing  afterward  in  a  country  where  reinforcement 
would  be  wellnigh  impossible  ?  And,  in  case  of  failure,  what 
would  be  the  chances  of  retreat  ?  It  may  be  observed,  in 
the  history  of  Bonaparte,  that  he  always  contrived  to  avoid 
a  positively  hopeless  position  as  far  as  possible,  and  especial- 
ly for  himself  personally.  A  war,  therefore,  would  serve  his 
purpose  by  relieving  him  from  this  project  of  invasion,  which, 
from  the  moment  he  renounced  it,  became  ridiculous. 

During  the  same  session,  the  State  of  Piombino  was  given 
to  the  Princess  Elisa.  On  announcing  this  to  the  Senate, 
Bonaparte  stated  that  the  principality  had  been  badly  governed 
for  several  years  ;  that  the  interests  of  France  were  concerned, 
on  account  of  the  facilities  which  it  offered  for  communica- 
tion with  the  Island  of  Elba  and  with  Corsica ;  and  that  the 
gift  was  not  a  token  of  special  affection,  but  an  act  in  accord- 
ance with  a  wise  policy,  with  the  splendor  of  the  crown,  and 
with  the  interests  of  nations. 

As  a  proof  that  these  gifts  of  the  Emperor  were  in  the 
nature  of  fiefs,  the  Imperial  decree  was  to  the  effect  that  the 
children  of  Mme.  Bacciochi,  on  succeeding  to  their  mother, 
should  receive  investiture  from  the  Emperor  of  the  French ; 
that  they  should  not  marry  without  his  consent ;  and  that  the 
Princess's  husband,  who  was  to  assume  the  title  of  Prince  of 
Piombino,  should  take  the  following  oath  : 

"  I  swear  fidelity  to  the  Emperor ;  I  promise  to  aid  with 
my  whole  power  the  garrison  of  the  Island  of  Elba ;  and  I 
declare  that  I  will  not  cease,  under  any  circumstances,  to 
fulfill  the  duties  of  a  good  and  faithful  subject  toward  his 
Majesty  the  Emperor  of  the  French." 

A  few  days  after  this  the  Pope  solemnly  baptized  the 
second  son  of  Louis  Bonaparte,  who  was  held  at  the  font  by 
his  father  and  mother.  This  great  ceremony  took  place  at 
Saint  Cloud.  The  park  was  illuminated  on  the  occasion, 
and  public  games  were  provided  for  the  people.  In  the 


RACINE'S  "ATHALIE."  255 

evening  there  was  a  numerous  reception,  and  a  first  perform- 
ance of  "  Athalie"  at  the  theatre  at  Saint  Cloud. 

Racine's  great  tragedy  had  not  been  performed  since  the 
Revolution.  The  Emperor,  who  admitted  he  had  never  been 
impressed  by  reading  the  play,  was  much  struck  by  its  repre- 
sentation, and  repeated  on  that  occasion  that  he  greatly  wished 
such  a  tragedy  might  be  written  during  his  own  reign.  He 
gave  leave  that  it  should  be  performed  in  Paris ;  and  thence- 
forth most  of  our  great  plays  resumed  their  place  on  the 
stage,  whence  they  had  been  prudently  banished  by  the  Rev- 
olution. 

Some  few  lines,  nevertheless,  were  cut  out,  lest  applica- 
tion might  be  made  of  them  to  present  circumstances.  Luc 
de  Lancival,  the  author  of  "  Hector,"  and  shortly  afterward 
Esmenard,  author  of  "  Le  Poeme  de  la  Navigation,"  were  in- 
trusted with  the  task  of  revising  Corneille,  Racine,  and  Vol- 
taire. But,  with  all  due  respect  to  these  precautionary  mea- 
sures of  a  too  careful  police,  the  missing  lines,  like  the  statues 
of  Brutus  and  Cassius,  were  the  more  conspicuous  by  their 
absence. 

In  consequence  of  the  momentous  decision  he  had  arrived 
at,  the  Emperor  announced  that  he  would  speedily  proceed 
to  Italy,  and  fixed  the  epoch  of  his  coronation  for  the  month 
of  May.  He  convened  the  Italian  Legislature  for  the  same 
date,  and  issued  several  decrees  and  ordinances  relating  to 
the  new  customs  to  be  established  in  Italy. 

He  also  appointed  ladies-in-waiting  and  chamberlains  to 
attend  on  his  mother ;  and  among  others  M.  de  Cosse-Brissac, 
who  had  solicited  that  favor.  At  the  same  time  Prince  Bor- 
ghese  was  declared  a  French  citizen,  and  the  ladies-in-waiting 
received  an  accession  to  their  number  in  Mme.  de  Canisy, 
one  of  the  most  beautiful  women  of  her  time. 

Mme.  Murat  gave  birth  to  a  child  just  at  this  time ;  she 

was  then  residing  at  the  Hotel  Thelusson,  at  the  end  of  the 

Rue  d'Artois.     It  was  observed  on  this  occasion  that  the 

luxuriousness  of  the  new  Princesses  was  continually  on  the 

21 


256  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R&MUSAT. 

increase,  and  yet  it  had  not  then  reached  the  height  which  it 
afterward  attained.  Mine.  Murat's  bedchamber  was  hung 
with  pink  satin,  the  bed  and  window  curtains  were  of  the 
same  material,  and  these  hangings  were  trimmed  with  broad 
and  very  fine  lace,  instead  of  fringe. 

The  preparations  for  the  Emperor's  departure  soon  occu- 
pied us  exclusively.  This  event  was  fixed  for  the  2d  of 
April,  when  the  Pope  was  also  to  leave  Paris ;  and  a  few 
days  previously  M.  de  Remusat  started  for  Milan,  in  charge 
of  the  regalia  and  the  crown  diamonds,  which  were  to  be 
used  at  the  coronation.  This  was  for  me  the  beginning  of 
troubles,  which  were  destined  to  recur  for  some  years.  I  had 
never  before  been  separated  from  my  husband,  and  I  was  so 
much  accustomed  to  the  enjoyments  of  my  home  that  I  found 
it  hard  to  be  deprived  of  them.  It  made  the  Court  life  to 
which  I  was  condemned  more  irksome,  and  was  very  pain- 
ful to  my  husband  also,  who,  like  myself,  fell  into  the  error 
of  letting  his  feelings  be  perceived.  I  have  already  said 
that  a  courtier  is  a  failure  if  he  suffer  any  feelings  to 
divert  his  attention  from  the  minutiae  which  constitute  his 
duties. 

My  distress  at  my  husband's  departure  on  a  journey  which 
seemed  to  me  so  long,  and  even  dangerous — for  my  imagina- 
tion exaggerated  everything  regarding  him — made  me  desir- 
ous that  he  should  be  accompanied  by  a  friend  of  ours,  named 
Salembemi,  who  had  formerly  been  an  officer  in  the  navy. 
He  was  badly  off — had  only  the  salary  of  some  small  appoint- 
ment to  live  on,  with  what  M.  de  Kemusat,  who  employed 
him  as  his  secretary,  paid  him.  To  him  I  confided  the  care 
of  my  husband's  health.  He  was  a  clever  man,  but  difficult 
to  deal  with,  somewhat  malicious,  and  of  a  peevish  temper. 
He  was  the  cause  of  more  than  one  of  our  troubles,  and  this 
is  why  I  now  make  mention  of  him.* 

*  M.  Salembemi,  who  had  a  ready  pen,  wrote  freely  from  Italy,  and  dwelt 
rather  on  the  scandals  of  the  Court  than  on  politics.  His  letters  were  opened 
and  shown  to  the  Emperor,  who  ordered  him  to  leave  within  twenty -four  hours. 


THE  EMPEROR  GOES  TO  ITALY.  257 

My  delicate  health  made  it  impossible  to  include  me  in 
the  suite.  The  Empress  seemed  to  regret  this.  As  for  my- 
self, I  was,  on  the  whole,  glad  of  a  rest  after  the  busy  life  I 
had  been  leading,  and  happy  to  remain  with  my  mother  and 
my  children.* 

Mesdames  de  la  Rochefoucauld,  d'Arberg,  de  Serrant, 
and  Savary,  a  considerable  number  of  chamberlains,  the  great 
officers,  and,  in  short,  a  numerous  and  youthful  Court,  ac- 
companied the  Empress.  The  Emperor  started  on  the  2d, 
and  the  Pope  on  the  4th  of  April.  At  every  stage  of  his 
journey  to  Home  his  Holiness  received  tokens  of  great  re- 
spect ;  and  he  then,  no  doubt,  believed  he  was  bidding  adieu 
to  France  for  ever. 

Murat  remained  as  Governor  of  Paris,  and  with  a  charge 
of  superintendence  which  he  extended  over  everything ;  but 
his  reports,  I  think,  were  not  always  disinterested.  Fouche, 
who  was  more  liberal,  if  I  may  use  the  expression,  in  the 
exercise  of  his  police  functions,  and  who  was  well  entitled 
to  consider  himself  necessary,  carried  things  with  rather  a 

His  disgrace  caused  some  vexation  to  my  grandfather.  Although  a  certain  con- 
straint may  be  observed  in  the  correspondence  of  the  author  of  these  Memoirs, 
and  many  phrases  are  inserted  for  the  purpose  of  contenting  a  jealous  master, 
it  is  probable  that  the  letters  of  the  husband  and  wife  were  also  regarded  as  too 
free  in  expression  for  courtiers.  We  know  that  the  hateful  custom  of  opening 
letters  was  transmitted  from  the  First  to  the  Second  Empire ;  and  it  is  a  curious 
coincidence  that,  on  the  4th  of  September,  1870,  a  letter  addressed  to  my  father 
by  my  mother  was  discovered  in  a  drawer  of  the  writing-table  of  the  Emperor 
Napoleon  III.  That  letter  was,  however,  evidently  written  without  any  fear  of 
the  post-office.— P.  R. 

*  My  grandmother,  whose  health  had  always  been  delicate,  now  began  to  be 
seriously  indisposed,  and  unable  for  any  exertion.  Her  disposition  became  in- 
fluenced by  this.  She  lost  none  of  her  goodness,  but  her  composure,  serenity, 
and  gayety  failed  her.  She  suffered  frequently  from  nervous  attacks,  which, 
together  with  her  naturally  vivid  imagination,  rendered  her  more  liable  to  dis- 
quiet and  melancholy.  The  journey  undertaken  by  her  husband,  although  dif- 
fering so  much  from  the  dangerous  exploits  of  the  time,  and,  in  fact,  little  more 
than  a  pleasure-trip,  troubled  her  to  a  degree  which  can  hardly  be  believed  now- 
adays, and  astonished  even  the  most  romantic  women  of  a  period  so  far  removed 
from  ours.  A  worldly  life,  and  especially  a  Court  life,  became  more  and  more 
distasteful  to  her. 


258  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R^MUSAT. 

high  hand,  but  was  conciliatory  to  all  parties,  according  to 
his  system  of  making  himself  useful  to  everybody. 

The  Arch-Chancellor  Cambaceres  also  remained  as  Di- 
rector of  the  Council  of  State — an  office  of  which  he  acquit- 
ted himself  well — and  to  do  the  honors  of  Paris.  He  re- 
ceived a  good  deal  of  company,  welcoming  them  with  a 
gloomy  civility  which  gave  him  an  almost  ridiculous  air. 

Paris  and  France  were  at  that  time  in  repose ;  all  things 
seemed  to  work  together  for  order,  and  the  general  state  of 
subjection  to  be  complete.  The  Emperor  went  first  to  Cham- 
pagne. He  passed  a  day  at  the  fine  old  chateau  of  Brienne,  in 
order  that  he  might  visit  the  scenes  of  his  childhood.  Mme. 
de  Brienne  professed  extreme  enthusiasm  for  him,  and,  as 
worship  was  not  displeasing  to  him,  he  behaved  to  her  with 
great  amiability.  It  was  amusing,  just  then,  to  see  some  of 
her  kinsfolk  at  Paris  receiving  the  lively  letters  she  wrote 
to  them  on  this  Imperial  visit.  However,  as  she  described 
events,  these  letters  produced  a  good  effect  in  what  we  call 
here  "  good  society."  Success  is  easy  to  the  powerful ;  they 
must  needs  be  very  ill-natured  or  very  blundering  when  they 
fail  to  please. 

A  few  days  after  all  these  grand  departures,  the  follow- 
ing paragraph  appeared  in  the  "Moniteur":  "Monsieur 
Jerome  Bonaparte  has  arrived  at  Lisbon,  on  board  an  Ameri- 
can vessel.  Among  the  passengers  are  Mr.  and  Miss  Patter- 
son. M.  Je*rome  immediately  took  the  post  for  Madrid. 
Mr.  and  Miss  Patterson  have  reembarked.  It  is  understood 
that  they  have  returned  to  America."  *  I  believe  that  they 
crossed  to  England.f 

*  The  Emperor  announced  the  return  of  his  brother  to  the  Minister  of  the 
Admiralty,  Vice-Admiral  DScres,  in  the  following  terms  : 

"  MILAN,  23d  FlorSal,  year  13  (13th  May,  1805). 
"MONSIEUR  DECRES: 

"  M.  J6r6me  has  arrived.  Mademoiselle  Patterson  has  returned  to  America. 
He  has  owned  his  fault,  and  does  not  recognize  this  person  as  his  wife.  He 
promises  miracles  of  good  behavior.  Meanwhile  I  have  sent  him  to  Genoa  for 
some  time."— P.  R.  f  See  Appendix. 


M.  DE  R&HUSAT  IN  MILAN.  259 

This  Mr.  Patterson  was  no  other  than  the  father-in-law 
of  Jerome,  who,  having  fallen  in  love  while  in  America  with 
the  daughter  of  an  American  merchant,  had  made  her  his 
wife,  persuading  himself  that,  after  some  displeasure  on  his 
brother's  part,  he  should  obtain  his  forgiveness.  But  Bona- 
parte, who  was  already  forming  other  projects  for  his  family, 
was  highly  incensed,  annulled  the  marriage,  and  forced  his 
brother  to  an  immediate  separation.  Jerome  traveled  to 
Italy,  and  joined  him  at  Turin,  but  was  very  badly  received. 
He  was  ordered  to  join  one  of  our  fleets  then  cruising  in  the 
Mediterranean,  remained  at  sea  for  a  considerable  time,  and 
was  not  restored  to  favor  until  several  months  afterward. 

Throughout  all  France  the  Emperor  was  welcomed  with 
genuine  enthusiasm.  He  staid  at  Lyons,  where  he  secured 
the  good  will  of  the  traders  by  issuing  decrees  favorable  to 
their  interests.  He  crossed  Mont  Cenis  and  remained  a  few 
days  at  Turin. 

Meanwhile  M.  de  Kemusat  had  reached  Milan,  where  he 
met  Prince  Eugene,  who  received  him  with  his  characteristic 
cordiality.  The  Prince  questioned  my  husband  as  to  what 
had  taken  place  in  Paris  since  he  had  left  that  city,  and  suc- 
ceeded in  eliciting  some  details  concerning  Mme.  de  X 

which  were  very  grievous  to  his  feelings.  M.  de  Remusat 
wrote  to  me  that,  pending  the  arrival  of  the  Court,  he  was 
leading  a  tolerably  quiet  life.  He  explored  Milan,  which 
seemed  to  him  a  dull  town,  and  its  palace  was  dull  also. 
The  inhabitants  showed  little  affection  for  the  French.  The 
nobles  shut  themselves  up  in  their  houses,  under  the  pretext 
that  they  were  not  rich  enough  to  do  the  honors  of  the  place 
in  a  fitting  style.  Prince  Eugene  endeavored  to  collect  them 
about  him,  but  succeeded  imperfectly.  The  Italians,  still  in 
a  state  of  suspense,  did  not  know  whether  to  rejoice  or  re- 
pine at  the  novel  destiny  which  we  forced  upon  them. 

M.  de  Remusat  sent  me  at  this  period  some  rather  curious 
details  of  the  life  of  the  Milanese.  Their  ignorance  of  all 
that  constitutes  agreeable  society ;  the  absolute  non-existence 


260  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R&MUSAT. 

among  them  of  family  life,  the  husbands,  strangers  to  their 
wives,  leaving  them  to  the  care  of  a  cavaliere  servente  •  the 
dullness  of  the  theatres ;  the  darkness  of  the  house,  whither 
people  go  in  morning-dress,  to  occupy  themselves  in  the 
nearly  closed  boxes  with  anything  rather  than  listening  to 
the  opera;  the  want  of  variety  in  the  performances;  the 
difference  between  the  costumes  and  those  of  France — all 
these  things  gave  M.  de  Remusat  matter  for  remarks,  which 
were  all  to  the  advantage  of  our  beloved  country,  while  they 
also  increased  his  desire  to  return  to  France  and  to  me. 

During  this  time  the  Emperor  was  revisiting  the  scenes 
of  his  former  victories.  He  held  a  grand  review  on  the 
battle-field  of  Marengo,  and  distributed  crosses  on  that  occa- 
sion. The  troops  who  had  been  massed  together  on  the 
pretext  of  this  review,  and  remained  afterward  in  the  neigh- 
borhood of  the  Adige,  furnished  a  reason  or  pretext  on 
which  the  Austrian  Government  strengthened  their  already 
very  powerful  line  of  defense  behind  this  river ;  and  French 
policy  took  offense  at  these  precautions. 

On  the  9th  of  May  the  Emperor  reached  Milan.  His 
presence  caused  great  excitement  in  the  town,  and  the  cir- 
cumstances attending  the  coronation  aroused  the  same  ambi- 
tion as  they  had  caused  in  Paris.  The  highest  nobles  of 
Milan  began  to  long  for  the  new  distinctions  and  the  advan- 
tages appertaining  to  them ;  independence  and  unity  of  gov- 
ernment were  held  out  to  the  Italians,  and  they  gave  them- 
selves up  to  the  hopes  they  were  allowed  to  conceive. 

Immediately  on  the  arrival  of  the  Court  at  Milan,  I  was 
struck  by  the  dismal  tone  of  M.  de  Remusat's  letters,  and 
soon  afterward  I  learned  that  he  was  suffering  from  his 
master's  displeasure.  The  naval  officer  of  whom  I  have 
spoken,  a  satirical  spectator  of  what  was  going  on  at  Milan, 
having  taken  it  into  his  head  to  write  to  Paris  some  lively 
and  rather  sarcastic  accounts  of  what  was  passing  before  his 
eyes,  his  letters  had  been  opened,  and  M.  de  Remusat  was 
ordered  to  send  him  back  to  Paris.  He  was  not  at  first  told 


A  BREACH  OF  CONFIDENCE.  261 

the  reason  for  this  order,  and  it  was  only  at  a  later  period 
that  he  learned  its  cause.  The  displeasure  of  the  Emperor 
was  not  confined  to  the  secretary ;  it  fell  also  on  him  who 
had  brought  him  to  Italy. 

Besides  this,  Prince  Eugene  let  fall  some  of  the  details  he 
had  obtained  in  confidence  from  my  husband ;  and,  finally, 
it  was  discovered  from  our  letters,  as  I  have  said  before,  that 
our  thoughts  and  aspirations  were  not  entirely  centered  in 
the  interests  of  our  places  at  Court.  These  causes  were  suf- 
ficient to  anger  a  master  who  was  by  nature  irascible ;  and 
so,  according  to  his  custom  of  using  men  for  his  own  advan- 
tage when  they  could  be  useful  to  him,  whatever  might  be 
his  feelings  toward  them,  he  exacted  from  my  husband  a 
service  of  the  most  rigid  punctuality,  because  the  length  of 
time  M.  de  Kemusat  had  passed  at  Court  had  given  him  ex- 
perience in  a  ceremonial  which  daily  became  more  minute, 
and  to  which  the  Emperor  attached  greater  importance.  At 
the  same  time  he  treated  him  with  harshness  and  severity, 
repeating  continually  to  those  who,  with  good  reason,  would 
praise  the  high  and  estimable  qualities  of  my  husband, 
"  All  that  you  say  may  be  true,  but  he  does  not  belong  to 
me  as  I  wish  him  to  belong  to  me."  This  reproach  was  al- 
ways on  his  lips  during  the  years  we  passed  in  his  service, 
and  perhaps  there  is  some  merit  in  our  never  having  ceased 
to  deserve  it. 

This  Court  life,  so  busy  and  yet  so  idle,  gave  M.  de  Tal- 
leyrand and  M.  de  Remusat  an  opportunity  of  becoming  bet- 
ter acquainted,  and  was  the  beginning  of  an  intimacy  which 
at  a  later  period  caused  me  many  and  various  emotions. 

The  fine  tact  of  M.  de  Talleyrand  discerned  the  right- 
mindedness  and  the  keenness  of  observation  of  my  husband ; 
they  agreed  on  a  multitude  of  subjects,  and  the  difference 
of  their  dispositions  did  not  prevent  them  from  enjoying 
an  interchange  of  ideas.  One  day  M.  de  Talleyrand  said 
to  M.  de  Remusat :  "  I  can  see  that  you  distrust  me,  and  I 
know  whence  your  caution  proceeds.  "We  serve  a  master 


262  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R$MUSAT. 

who  does  not  like  intimacies.  When  he  appointed  us  both 
to  the  same  service,  he  foresaw  there  might  be  friendship 
between  us.  You  are  a  clever  man,  and  that  is  enough  to 
make  him  wish  that  you  and  I  should  remain  apart.  He 
therefore  prejudiced  you  in  some  way  against  me,  and  he 
also  tried,  by  I  know  not  what  reports,  to  put  me  on  my 
guard.  It  will  not  be  his  fault  if  we  do  not  remain  stran- 
gers to  one  another.  This  is  one  of  his  weaknesses,  and  we 
must  recognize,  indulge,  and  excuse,  without,  however,  sub- 
mitting to  it."  This  straightforward  way  of  speaking,  en- 
hanced by  the  graceful  manner  which  M.  de  Talleyrand 
knows  so  well  how  to  assume  when  he  likes,  pleased  my 
husband,  who,  moreover,  found  in  this  friendship  something 
to  make  up  for  the  weariness  of  his  post.* 

At  this  period  M.  de  K6musat  perceived  that  M.  de 
Talleyrand,  who  had  the  influence  over  Bonaparte  of  his 
utility,  felt  considerable  jealousy  of  Fouche,  whom  he  dis- 
liked. He  entertained  a  positive  contempt  for  M.  Maret, 
and  gratified  it  by  the  biting  sarcasm  in  which  he  habitually 
indulged,  and  which  few  could  escape.  Although  under  no 
delusion  regarding  Bonaparte,  he  nevertheless  served  him 
well ;  for  he  tried  to  restrain  his  passions  by  the  position  in 

*  This  mutual  distrust  between  his  Great  Chamberlain  and  his  First  Cham- 
berlain, originated  and  kept  up  by  the  Emperor,  was  slow  in  dying  out ;  and, 
notwithstanding  the  good  will  of  both,  no  real  intimacy  existed  between  them 
until  the  following  year,  during  the  tour  in  Germany.  After  the  first  advances 
had  been  made  by  M.  de  Talleyrand,  my  grandfather  wrote  to  his  wife  in  the 
following  terms,  in  a  letter  dated  Milan,  17th  Flore"al,  year  13  (7th  May,  1805): 
"M.  de  Talleyrand  has  been  here  for  the  last  week.  It  only  depends  on  my- 
self to  believe  him  my  best  friend.  In  words  he  seems  friendship  itself.  I 
often  go  to  see  him.  He  takes  my  arm  whenever  he  happens  to  meet  me,  and 
talks  with  me  in  a  low  voice  for  two  or  three  hours  at  a  time ;  he  tells  me  vari- 
ous things  which  have  every  appearance  of  being  confidential,  interests  himself 
in  my  career,  talks  to  me  about  it,  and  wants  me  to  be  distinguished  among  all 
the  other  Chamberlains.  Tell  me,  my  dear  one,  am  I  really  held  in  esteem,  or 
does  he  want  to  play  me  a  trick  ?  "  Shortly  after  this,  his  language  completely 
changed,  and  the  friendship  became  intimate  and  affectionate  on  both  sides. — 
P.  R. 


WAR  BETWEEN  ENGLAND  AND  SPAIN.          263 

which  he  placed  him,  both  with  respect  to  foreign  affairs  and 
in  France;  and  he  also  advised  him  to  create  certain  insti- 
tutions which  would  control  him.  The  Emperor,  who,  as  I 
have  said,  liked  to  create,  and  who  seized  rapidly  upon  any- 
thing novel  and  impressive,  would  follow  the  advice  of  M. 
de  Talleyrand,  and,  in  concert  with  him,  would  lay  the  foun- 
dation of  some  useful  enterprise.  But  afterward  his  domi- 
neering temper,  his  suspicion,  his  dread  of  finding  himself 
restrained,  made  him  afraid  of  the  action  of  that  which  he 
had  himself  created,  and,  with  sudden  caprice,  he  would 
abruptly  suspend  or  relinquish  the  work  he  had  begun.  M. 
de  Talleyrand  was  provoked  by  this ;  but,  as  he  was  naturally 
indolent  and  careless,  and  did  not  possess  in  himself  those 
qualities  of  strength  and  perseverance  which  enable  a  man  to 
carry  his  points  in  detail,  he  usually  ended  by  neglecting  and 
abandoning  the  fatiguing  task  of  solicitude  and  superinten- 
dence. The  sequence  of  events  will,  however,  explain  all  this 
better  than  I  can  in  this  place. 

Meantime,  war  broke  out  between  England  and  Spain, 
and  we  were  frequently,  sometimes  successfully,  engaged  at 
sea.  A  fleet  which  sailed  out  from  Toulon  found  means  to 
join  the  Spanish  squadron,  and  the  press  exulted  loudly  over 
this  feat.* 

On  the  30th  of  May  Bonaparte  was  crowned  King  of 
Italy,  with  great  pomp.  The  ceremony  was  similar  to  that 
which  had  taken  place  in  Paris.  The  Empress  sat  in  a  gal- 
lery and  beheld  the  spectacle.  M.  de  Eemusat  told  me  that 
a  thrill  of  emotion  passed  over  the  crowd  in  the  church  at 
the  moment  when  Bonaparte,  taking  hold  of  the  Iron  Crown, 
and  placing  it  on  his  head,  uttered  in  a  threatening  voice  the 
antique  formula,  "  H  cielo  me  la  diede,  guai  a  chi  la  toc- 
cherd !  "  The  remainder  of  the  Emperor's  stay  at  Milan  was 
divided  between  attending  fetes  and  issuing  decrees  for  the 

*  This  passage  refers  to  the  achievement  of  Admiral  Villeneuve,  who,  hav- 
ing set  sail  on  the  30th  of  March,  contrived  to  get  clear  of  the  port  of  Toulon 
without  encountering  the  English  fleet. — P.  R. 


264  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  RfiMUSAT. 

regulation  and  administration  of  his  new  kingdom.  Rejoic- 
ings took  place  all  over  France  in  honor  of  the  event ;  and 
yet  it  caused  great  apprehension  among  many  people,  who 
foresaw  that  war  with  Austria  would  result  from  it. 

On  the  4th  of  June  the  Doge  of  Genoa  arrived  at  Milan. 
He  came  to  beg  that  his  Republic  might  be  united  to  the 
Empire  ;  and  this  action,  which  had  been  concerted  or  com- 
manded beforehand,  was  made  the  occasion  of  a  grand  recep- 
tion and  state  ceremony.  That  portion  of  Italy  was  at  once 
divided  into  new  departments,  and  shortly  afterward  the  new 
constitution  was  sent  to  the  Italian  Legislature,  and  Prince 
Eugene  was  made  Viceroy  of  the  kingdom.  The  order  of 
the  Iron  Crown  was  created;  and,  the  distributions  being 
made,  the  Emperor  left  Milan  and  set  out  on  a  journey 
which,  under  the  appearance  of  a  pleasure-trip,  was  in  reality 
undertaken  for  the  purpose  of  reconnoitering  the  Austrian 
forces  on  the  line  of  the  Adige. 

By  the  treaty  of  Campo  Formio  Bonaparte  had  aban- 
doned the  Venetian  States  to  the  Emperor  of  Austria,  and 
the  latter  thus  became  a  formidable  neighbor  to  the  king- 
dom of  Italy.  On  his  arrival  at  Verona,  he  received  a  visit 
from  Baron  Vincent,  who  commanded  the  Austrian  garrison 
in  that  portion  of  the  town  which  belonged  to  his  sovereign. 
The  Baron  was  commissioned  to  inform  himself  of  the  state 
of  our  forces  in  Italy ;  the  Emperor,  on  his  part,  observing 
those  of  the  foreigner.  On  inspecting  the  banks  of  the 
Adige,  he  perceived  that  forts  would  have  to  be  constructed 
for  the  defense  of  the  river ;  but,  on  calculating  the  neces- 
sary time  and  expense,  he  said  that  it  would  be  better  and 
quicker  to  push  the  Austrians  back  from  that  frontier  alto- 
gether. From  that  moment  we  may  believe  that  he  had 
resolved  upon  the  war  which  was  declared  some  months 
later. 

It  was  impossible  that  the  Emperor  of  Austria  should 
regard  with  indifference  the  acquisition  by  France  of  so 
much  power  in  Italy ;  and  the  English  Government,  which 


PROSPECT  OF  WAR    WITH  AUSTRIA.  265 

was  making  great  efforts  to  stir  up  a  continental  war  against 
us,  skillfully  availed  itself  of  the  uneasiness  of  the  Emperor 
of  Austria,  and  the  dissatisfaction  which  was  by  degrees 
impairing  the  cordiality  of  our  relations  with  Russia.  The 
English  newspapers  hastened  to  assert  that  the  Emperor  had 
held  a  review  of  his  troops  in  Italy  for  the  sole  purpose  of 
putting  them  on  the  footing  of  a  formidable  enemy ;  and 
thenceforth  movements  began  in  the  Austrian  army.  Those 
appearances  of  peace  which  were  still  observed  up  to  the 
time  of  the  rupture  were  in  reality  preparations  by  both 
Emperors,  who  at  that  period  had  become  almost  declared 
enemies. 


CHAPTEK  XIII. 

(1805.) 

FStes  at  Verona  and  Genoa— Cardinal  Maury— My  Eetired  Life  in  the  Country^- 
Mme.  Louis  Bonaparte— "  Les  Templiers "— The  Emperor's  Eeturn— His 
Amusements — The  Marriage  of  M.  de  Talleyrand — War  is  declared. 

THE  Emperor  visited  Cremona,  Yerona,  Mantua,  Bo- 
logna, Modena,  Parma,  and  Piacenza,  and  then  went  to 
Genoa,  where  he  was  received  with  enthusiasm.  He  sent 
for  Le  Brun,  the  Arch-Treasurer,  to  whom  he  intrusted  the 
task  of  superintending  the  new  administration  to  be  estab- 
lished in  that  city.  At  Genoa  also  he  parted  with  his  sister 
Elisa,  who  had  accompanied  him  on  his  journey,  and  to 
whom  he  gave  the  little  Republic  of  Lucca,  adding  to  it  the 
States  of  Piombino.  At  this  period  the  French  began  once 
more  to  wear  foreign  decorations.  Prussian,  Bavarian,  and 
Spanish  orders  were  sent  to  the  Emperor,  to  be  distributed 
by  him  at  his  pleasure.  He  divided  them  among  his  great 
officers,  some  of  his  ministers,  and  a  few  of  his  marshals. 

At  Yerona  a  fight  between  dogs  and  bulls  was  given,  for 
the  entertainment  of  the  Emperor,  in  the  ancient  amphi- 
theatre, which  contained  forty  thousand  spectators.  Loud 
applause  greeted  his  arrival,  and  he  was  really  affected  by 
this  reception,  rendered  impressive  by  the  place,  and  by  the 
magnitude  of  the  crowd.  The  fetes  at  Genoa  were  very 
magnificent.  Floating  gardens  were  constructed  on  huge 
flat  barges;  these  gardens  led  to  a  floating  temple,  which, 
approaching  the  land,  received  Bonaparte  and  his  Court. 
Then  the  barges,  which  were  all  fastened  together,  were  set 


CARDINAL  MAURT.  267 

in  motion,  and  the  Emperor  found  himself  on  a  beautiful 
island  in  the  middle  of  the  harbor,  whence  he  had  a  com- 
plete view  of  Genoa,  and  of  the  simultaneous  displays  of 
fireworks  from  various  parts  of  the  splendidly  illuminated 
city. 

M.  de  Talleyrand  found  amusement  entirely  to  his  taste 
during  his  stay  at  Genoa ;  for  he  was  always  pleased  to  de- 
tect an  absurdity  and  to  point  it  out  to  others.  Cardinal 
Maury,  who  had  retired  to  Home  since  his  emigration,  had 
gained  a  great  reputation  there  by  the  firmness  of  his  atti- 
tude in  our  famous  Constituent  Assembly.  Nevertheless, 
he  was  desirous  of  returning  to  France,  and  M.  de  Talley- 
rand wrote  to  him  from  Genoa,  advising  him  to  come  at 
once  and  present  himself  to  the  Emperor.  The  Cardinal 
acted  upon  this,  and,  immediately  assuming  that  obsequious 
attitude  which  he  has  ever  since  scrupulously  retained,  he 
entered  Genoa,  loudly  proclaiming  that  he  had  come  to  see 
"  the  great  man." 

He  obtained  an  audience.  "  The  great  man "  took  his 
measure  very  quickly,  and,  while  esteeming  him  at  his  proper 
value,  resolved  to  make  him  give  a  complete  contradiction 
to  his  past  conduct.  He  gained  him  over  easily  by  flatter- 
ing him  a  little,  and  induced  him  to  return  to  France,  where 
we  have  since  seen  him  play  a  somewhat  ridiculous  part. 
M.  de  Talleyrand,  whose  recollections  of  the  Constituent 
Assembly  were  not  effaced,  took  many  opportunities  of 
wreaking  a  petty  revenge  upon  the  Cardinal,  by  bringing 
out  his  silly  sycophancy  in  the  most  skillful  and  cunning 
manner. 

While  the  Emperor  was  thus  traveling  through  Italy  and 
consolidating  his  power,  and  everybody  around  him  was  get- 
ting tired  of  the  continual  full-dress  parade  at  which  he  kept 
his  Court ;  while  the  Empress,  happy  in  the  elevation  of  her 
son,  and  yet  grieved  by  her  separation  from  him,  amused 
herself  and  distracted  her  mind  by  the  perpetual  fetes  given 
in  her  honor,  and  took  pleasure  in  exhibiting  her  magnificent 


268  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  REMUS  AT. 

jewels  and  her  elegant  costumes,  I  was  leading  a  quiet  and 
pleasant  life  in  the  valley  of  Montmorency,  at  the  house  of 
Mme.  d'Houdetot.  I  have  already  mentioned  this  amiable 
and  accomplished  woman.  Her  recollections  enabled  me  to 
reconstruct  in  my  imagination  those  days  of  which  she  loved 
to  talk.  It  gave  me  great  pleasure  to  hear  her  speak  of  the 
famous  philosophers  whom  she  had  known,  and  whose  ways 
and  sayings  she  remembered  so  clearly.  I  was  so  full  of  the 
"  Confessions "  of  Jean  Jacques  Rousseau  that  I  was  not  a 
little  surprised  to  find  her  somewhat  cold  in  her  appreciation 
of  him;  and  I  may  say,  in  passing,  that  the  opinion  of 
Mme.  d'Houdetot,  who  would,  I  should  think,  have  re- 
garded Rousseau  with  exceptional  indulgence,  contributed 
not  a  little  to  make  me  distrust  his  character,  and  believe 
that  he  was  only  great  in  point  of  talent.* 

During  the  absence  of  the  Court,  Paris  was  quiet  and 
dull.  The  Imperial  family  were  living  in  the  country.  I 
sometimes  saw  Mme.  Louis  Bonaparte  at  Saint  Leu,  a  place 
which  her  husband  had  just  bought.  Louis  appeared  to  oc- 
cupy himself  exclusively  with  his  garden.  His  wife  wa-s 
lonely,  ill,  and  always  afraid  of  letting  some  word  at  which 
he  might  be  offended  escape  her.  She  had  not  ventured 
either  to  rejoice  at  the  elevation  of  Prince  Eugene  or  to 
weep  for  his  absence,  which  was,  of  course,  indefinite.  She 
wrote  to  him  seldom  and  briefly,  because  she  knew  that  the 
privacy  of  her  letters  was  not  respected.  On  one  occasion, 
when  I  was  visiting  her,  she  told  me  a  rumor  had  arisen 
that  the  Due  de  Polignac  and  his  brother,  who  were  im- 
prisoned in  the  Chateau  of  Ham,  had  attempted  to  escape ; 
that  they  had  been  transferred  to  the  Temple ;  and  that 
Mme.  Bonaparte  and  myself  were  accused  of  being  con- 
cerned in  the  affair.  This  accusation,  of  which  Mme.  Louis 
suspected  Murat  to  be  the  author,  was  utterly  unfounded. 
Mme.  Bonaparte  never  gave  a  thought  to  the  two  prisoners, 
and  I  had  entirely  lost  sight  of  the  Duchesse  de  Polignac. 

*  For  a  note  on  this  passage  by  M.  Paul  de  Remusat,  see  Appendix. 


RETIRED  LIFE  IN  TEE  COUNTRY.  269 

I  lived  in  the  strictest  retirement,  so  that  my  solitude 
might  supply  a  sufficient  answer  to  any  gossip  concerning 
my  conduct ;  but  I  was  more  and  more  distressed  by  the 
necessity  for  taking  such  precautions,  and  especially  at  being 
unable  to  use  the  position  in  which  I  was  placed  for  any  pur- 
poses of  utility  to  the  Emperor,  to  myself,  or  to  those  per- 
sons who  wished  to  obtain  certain  favors  from  him  through 
me.  There  was  no  want  of  kindness  in  my  natural  disposi- 
tion ;  and,  besides  that,  I  felt  a  degree  of  pride,  which  I  do 
not  think  was  misplaced,  in  serving  those  who  had  formerly 
blamed  me,  and  in  silencing  their  criticisms  of  my  conduct 
by  favors  which  could  not  be  said  to  lack  generosity.  I  also 
believed  that  the  Emperor  might  win  many  persons  who  now 
held  aloof,  by  the  permission  which  he  had  granted  me  to 
bring  their  solicitations  and  their  necessities  under  his  atten- 
tion ;  and  as  I  was  still  attached  to  him,  although  he  inspired 
me  with  more  fear  than  formerly,  I  would  have  gained  all 
hearts  for  him  had  it  been  possible.  But,  as  it  became  evi- 
dent that  my  plan  was  not  always  approved  by  him,  I  found 
I  had  to  think  of  defending  myself,  rather  than  assisting 
others. 

My  reflections  were  occasionally  very  sad.  At  other 
times  I  could  make  up  my  mind  to  the  difficulties  of  my 
position,  and  resolve  that  I  would  only  look  at  the  agreeable 
side  of  it.  I  enjoyed  a  certain  consideration  in  society,  and 
I  liked  that ;  and  we  were  fairly  prosperous,  though  not  free 
from  the  difficulties  which  always  beset  persons  whose  for- 
tunes have  no  secure  basis,  and  whose  expenses  are  obliga- 
tory. But  I  was  young,  and  I  thought  little  of  the  future. 
I  was  surrounded  by  pleasant  society ;  my  mother  was  per- 
fection to  me,  my  husband  most  kind  and  good,  my  eldest 
son  all  I  could  wish.  I  lived  on  the  pleasantest  terms  with 
my  kind  and  charming  sister.  All  this  turned  away  my 
thoughts  from  the  Court,  and  enabled  me  to  bear  the  draw- 
backs of  my  position  patiently.  My  health  was  a  perpetual 
trial  to  me ;  it  was  always  delicate,  and  an  unquiet  life  was 


270  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE 

evidently  injurious.  I  must  not,  however,  dwell  upon  my- 
self ;  I  do  not  know  how  I  have  been  tempted  into  doing  so. 
If  ever  this  narrative  should  be  read  by  others,  as  well  as  by 
my  son,  all  this  ought  to  be  suppressed  without  hesitation.* 

During  the  Emperor's  sojourn  in  Italy,  two  plays  had  a 
great  success  at  the  Comedie  Francaise.  The  first  was  "  Le 
Tartufe  des  Mceurs,"  translated,  or  rather  adapted,  from 
Sheridan's  "  School  for  Scandal,"  by  M.  Cheron ;  the  second 
was  "  Les  Templiers."  M.  Che'ron  had  been  a  deputy  to  the 
Legislative  Assembly.  He  married  a  niece  of  the  Abbe 
Morellet;  his  wife  and  himself  were  intimate  friends  of 
mine.  The  Abbe  had  written  to  the  Emperor  to  solicit  a 
place  for  M.  Cheron ;  and,  on  Bonaparte's  return,  "  Le  Tar- 
tufe des  Mceurs  "  was  acted  before  him.  He  was  so  much 
amused  by  the  play  that,  having  ascertained  the  name  of  its 
author  from  M.  de  Remusat,  and  also  learned  that  M.  Cheron 
was  well  deserving  of  employment,  he,  in  a  moment  of  easy 
good  nature,  sent  him  to  Poitiers  as  Prefect.  Unfortunately, 
he  died  there  three  years  afterward.  His  widow  is  a  most 
estimable  and  talented  person. 

M.  de  Fontanes  had  read  "  Les  Templiers  "  to  Bonaparte, 
who  approved  of  some  portions  of  the  piece,  but  objected  to 
others.  He  wished  to  have  certain  corrections  made,  but 
the  author  refused,  and  the  Emperor  was  annoyed.  He  was 
by  no  means  pleased  that  "  Les  Templiers  "  had  a  brilliant 
success,  and  set  himself  against  both  the  play  and  the  author, 
with  a  petty  despotism  which  was  characteristic  of  him  when- 
either  persons  or  things  incurred  his  displeasure.  All  this 
happened  when  he  came  back.f 

*  Notwithstanding  the  above  injunction,  my  readers  will  not  be  surprised 
that  I  have  retained  these  personal  details,  which  lend  a  particular  interest  to 
the  narrative. — P.  R. 

f  It  was  not  until  his  return  to  Paris  that  the  Emperor  displayed  the  ill 
humor  which  the  Memoirs  record.  On  the  1st  of  June,  1805,  he  wrote  from 
Milan  to  M.  Fouche  as  follows :  "  It  seems  to  me  that  the  success  of  '  Les 
Templiers'  leads  the  people  to  dwell  upon  this  point  of  French  history.  That 
is  well,  but  I  do  not  think  it  would  be  wise  to  allow  pieces  taken  from  historical 


THE  EMPEROR  RETURNS  TO  PARIS.  271 

Bonaparte  expected  that  his  wishes  and  his  opinions 
should  be  accepted  as  rules.  He  had  taken  a  fancy  to  the 
music  of  "  Les  Bardes,"  an  opera  by  Lesueur,  and  he  was 
almost  angry  thaf  the  Parisian  public  did  not  think  as  highly 
of  it  as  he  did. 

The  Emperor  came  direct  from  Genoa  to  Paris.  This 
was  to  be  his  last  sight  of  fair  Italy,  that  land  in  which  he 
seemed  to  have  exhausted  every  mode  of  impressing  the 
minds  of  men,  as  a  general,  as  a  pacificator,  and  as  a  sover- 
eign. He  returned  by  Mont  Cenis,  and  gave  orders  for 
great  works  which,  like  those  of  the  Simplon  Pass,  should 
facilitate  the  communications  between  the  two  nations.  The 
Court  was  increased  in  number  by  several  Italian  noblemen 
and  ladies  who  were  attached  to  it.  The  Emperor  had  al- 
ready appointed  some  Belgians  as  additional  chamberlains, 
and  the  obsequiorus  forms  in  which  he  was  addressed  were 
now  uttered  in  widely  varying  accents. 

He  arrived  at  Fontainebleau  on  the  llth  of  July,  and 
went  thence  to  reside  at  Saint  Cloud.  Shortly  after,  the 
"  Moniteur "  began  to  bristle  with  notes,  announcing  in  al- 
most threatening  language  the  storm  which  was  so  soon  to 
burst  over  Europe.  Certain  expressions  which  occurred 
from  time  to  time  in  these  notes  revealed  the  author  who 
had  dictated  them.  One  of  these  in  particular  made  an  im- 
pression on  my  memory.  It.  had  been  stated  in  the  English 
newspapers  that  a  supposed  genealogy  of  the  Bonaparte 
family,  which  retraced  its  nobility  to  an  ancient  origin,  had 

subjects  of  a  period  too  close  to  our  own  times  to  be  acted.  I  read  in  a  news- 
paper that  it  is  proposed  to  act  a  tragedy  on  the  subject  of  Henry  IV.  That 
epoch  is  near  enough  to  ours  to  arouse  popular  passions.  The  stage  requires 
antiquity,  and,  without  restricting  the  theatre  too  much,  I  think  you  ought  to 
prevent  this,  but  not  to  allow  your  interference  to  appear.  You  might  speak  of 
it  to  M.  Raynouard,  who  seems  to  be  a  man  of  ability.  Why  should  you  not 
induce  him  to  write  a  tragedy  upon  the  transition  from  the  first  to  the  second 
line  [from  Valois  to  Bourbon]  ?  Instead  of  being  a  tyrant,  he  who  should  suc- 
ceed to  that  would  be  the  saviour  of  the  nation.  The  oratorio  of  'Saul'  is  no 
other  than  this ;  it  is  a  great  man  succeeding  a  degenerate  king." 
22 


272  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  K&MUSAT. 

been  printed  in  London.  "  Researches  of  this  kind  are  pur- 
poseless," said  the  note.  "  To  all  those  who  may  ask  from 
what  period  dates  the  house  of  Bonaparte,  there  is  a  ready 
answer :  <  It  dates  from  the  18th  Brumaire.'  '• 

I  met  the  Emperor  after  his  return  with  mingled  feelings. 
It  was  difficult  not  to  be  affected  by  his  presence,  but  it  was 
painful  to  me  to  feel  that  my  emotion  was  tempered  by  the 
distrust  with  which  he  was  beginning  to  inspire  me.*  The 
Empress  received  me  in  a  most  friendly  manner,  and  I  avowed 
to  her  quite  frankly  the  trouble  that  was  on  my  mind.  I  ex- 
pressed my  surprise  that  no  past  proof  of  devotedness  or  dis- 
interested service  could  avail  with  her  husband  against  a 
sudden  prejudice.  She  repeated  my  words  to  him,  and  he 
well^ understood  what  they  meant;  but  he  persisted  in  his 
own  definition  of  what  he  called  devotedness,  which  was  an 
entire  surrender  of  one's  being,  of  one's  sentiments  and  one's 
opinions,  and  repeated  that  we  ought  to  give  up  all  our  for- 
mer habits,  in  order  to  have  only  one  thought,  that  of  his 
interest  and  his  will.  He  promised,  in  recompense  for  this 
exaction,  that  we  should  be  raised  to  a  great  height  of  rank 
and  fortune,  and  have  everything  that  could  gratify  our  pride. 
"  I  will  give  them,"  said  he,  speaking  of  us,  "  enough  to  en- 
able them  to  laugh  at  those  who  find  fault  with  them  now ; 
and,  if  they  will  break  with  my  enemies,  I  will  put  their  ene- 
mies under  their  feet."  Apart  from  this,  I  had  but  little 
annoyance  in  the  household,  and  my  position  was  easy  enough, 
as  Bonaparte's  mind  was  fixed  on  important  affairs  during  his 
stay  in  France  before  the  campaign  of  Austerlitz. 

A  circumstance  recurs  to  my  memory  at  this  moment, 
which  is  only  important  because  it  serves  to  depict  this 
strange  man.  I  therefore  give  it  a  place  here.  The  despot- 
ism of  his  will  grew  in  proportion  to  the  enlargement  of  the 
circle  with  which  he  surrounded  himself ;  he  wanted  to  be 
the  sole  arbiter  of  reputations,  to  make  them  and  to  unmake 
them  at  his  pleasure.  He  branded  a  man  or  blighted  a  woman 

*  For  a  fuller  explanation  of  this  passage,  see  Appendix. 


BONAPARTE^S  GALLANTRIES.  273 

for  a  word,  without  any  kind  of  hesitation ;  but  he  was  much 
displeased  that  the  public  should  venture  to  observe  and  to 
comment  on  the  conduct  of  either  the  one  or  the  other,  if 
he  had  placed  them  within  the  rays  of  the  aureole  with  which 
he  surrounded  himself. 

During  his  journey  in  Italy,  the  idleness  of  life  in  palaces 
and  its  opportunities  had  given  rise  to  several  gallant  adven- 
tures on  his  part,  which  were  more  or  less  serious,  and  these 
had  been  duly  reported  in  France,  where  they  fed  the  general 
appetite  for  gossip.  One  day,  when  several  ladies  of  the 
Court — among  them  those  who  had  been  in  Italy — were 
breakfasting  with  the  Empress,  Bonaparte  came  suddenly 
into  the  room,  and,  leaning  on  the  back  of  his  wife's  chair, 
addressed  to  one  and  another  of  us  a  few  words,  at  first  in- 
significant enough.  Then  he  began  to  question  us  about 
what  we  were  all  doing,  and  let  us  know,  but  only  by  hints, 
that  some  among  us  were  considerably  talked  of  by  the  pub- 
lic. The  Empress,  who  knew  her  husband's  ways,  and  was 
aware  that,  when  talking  in  this  manner,  he  was  apt  to  go 
very  far,  tried  to  interrupt  him ;  but  the  Emperor,  persisting 
in  the  conversation,  presently  gave  it  an  exceedingly  embar- 
rassing turn.  "  Yes,  ladies,  you  occupy  the  attention  of  the 
worthy  inhabitants  of  the  Faubourg  St.  Germain.  They  say, 

for  instance,  that  you,  Mme. ,  have  a  liaison  with  M. 

;  that  you,  Mme. ."  And  so  he  went  on,  address- 
ing himself  to  three  or  four  ladies  in  succession.  The  effect 
upon  us  all  of  such  an  attack  may  easily  be  imagined.  The 
Emperor  was  amused  by  the  confusion  into  which  he  threw 
us.  "  But,"  added  he,  "  you  need  not  suppose  that  I  approve 
of  talk  of  this  kind.  To  attack  my  Court  is  to  attack  myself, 
and  I  do  not  choose  that  a  word  shall  be  said,  either  of  me, 
or  of  my  family,  or  of  my  Court."  While  thus  speaking,  his 
countenance,  which  had  previously  been  smiling,  darkened, 
and  his  voice  became  extremely  harsh.  He  then  burst  out 
violently  against  that  section  of  Parisian  society  which  was 
still  rebellious,  declaring  that  he  would  exile  every  woman 


274:  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  REMITS  AT. 

who  should  say  a  word  against  any  lady-in-waiting ;  and  he 
proceeded  to  work  himself  into  a  violent  passion  upon  this 
text,  which  he  had  entirely  to  himself,  for  not  a  single  one 
of  us  attempted  to  make  him  an  answer.  The  Empress  at 
length  rose  from  the  table  in  order  to  terminate  this  un- 
pleasant scene,  and  the  general  movement  put  an  end  to  it. 
The  Emperor  left  the  room  as  suddenly  as  he  had  come  in. 
One  of  our  ladies,  a  sworn  admirer  of  everything  that  Bona- 
parte said  and  did,  began  to  expatiate  upon  the  kindness  of 
such  a  master,  who  desired  that  our  reputation  should  be  held 

a  sacred  thing.  But  Mme.  de ,  a  very  clever  woman, 

answered  her  impatiently,  "Yes,  madame,  let  the  Emperor 
only  defend  us  once  again  in  that  fashion,  and  we  are  lost."  x 

Bonaparte  was  greatly  surprised  when  the  Empress  rep- 
resented to  him  the  absurdity  of  this :  scene,  and  he  always 
insisted  that  we  ought  to  have  been  grateful  for  the  readi- 
ness with  which  he  took  offense  when  we  were  attacked. 

During  his  stay  at  Saint  Cloud  he  worked  incessantly, 
and  issued  a  great  number  of  decrees  relative  to  the  adminis- 
tration of  the  new  departments  he  had  acquired  in  Italy. 
He  also  augmented  his  Council  of  State,  to  which  he  gave 
more  influence  from  day  to  day,  because  he  was  quite  sure 
of  having  it  completely  under  his  authority.  He  showed 
himself  at  the  Opera,  and  was  well  received  by  the  Parisians, 
whom,  however,  he  still  thought  cold  in  comparison  with  the 
people  of  the  provinces.  He  led  a  busy  and  laborious  life, 
sometimes  allowing  himself  the  recreation  of  hunting ;  but 
he  walked  out  for  one  hour  a  day  only,  and  received  com- 
pany on  but  one  day  in  each  week.  On  that  day  the  Come- 
die  Francaise  came  to  Saint  Cloud,  and  acted  tragedies  or 
comedies  in  a  very  pretty  theatre  which  had  been  recently 
built.  Then  began  the  difficulties  of  M.  de  Eemusat  in  pro- 
viding amusement  for  him  whom  Talleyrand  called  "the 
Unamusable."  In  vain  were  the  masterpieces  of  our  theatri- 
cal repertoire  performed ;  in  vain  did  our  best  actors  strive 
their  very  best  to  please  him :  he  generally  appeared  at  these 


ADMIRAL  NELSON.  275 

representations  preoccupied  and  weighed  down  by  the  gravity 
of  his  thoughts.  He  laid  the  blame  of  his  own  want  of  at- 
tention to  the  play  on  his  First  Chamberlain,  on  Corneille, 
on  Racine,  or  on  the  actors.  He  liked  Talma's  acting,  or 
rather  Talma  himself — there  had  been  some  sort  of  acquaint- 
ance between  them  during  his  obscure  youth ;  he  gave  him 
a  great  deal  of  money,  and  received  him  familiarly;  but 
even  Talma  could  not  succeed  in  interesting  him.  Just  like 
an  invalid,  who  blames  others  for  the  state  of  his  own  health, 
he  was  angry  with  those  who  could  enjoy  the  pleasures  that 
passed  him  by;  and  he  always  thought  that  by  scolding  and 
worrying  he  should  get  something  invented  which  would 
succeed  in  amusing  him.  The  man  who  was  intrusted  with 
Bonaparte's  pleasures  was  very  seriously  to  be  pitied ;  unfor- 
tunately for  us,  M.  de  Remusat  was  the  man,  and  I  can  not 
describe  what  he  had  to  bear. 

At  this  time  the  Emperor  was  still  flattering  himself  that 
he  would  be  able  to  gain  some  naval  triumphs  over  the  Eng- 
lish. The  united  French  and  Spanish  fleets  made  several 
efforts,  and  an  attempt  was  made  to  defend  the  colonies. 
Admiral  Kelson,  pursuing  us  everywhere,  no  doubt -upset 
the  greater  part  of  our  plans;  but  this  was  carefully  con- 
cealed, and  our  newspapers  taught  us  to  believe  that  we 
were  beating  the  English  every  day.  It  is  likely  that  the 
project  of  the  invasion  was  abandoned.  The  English  Gov- 
ernment was  raising  up  formidable  enemies  for  us  upon  the 
Continent.  The  Emperor  of  Russia,  who  was  young  and 
naturally  inclined  to  independence,  was  perhaps  already 
tempted  to  resent  the  preponderance  that  our  Emperor  de- 
sired to  exercise,  and  some  of  his  ministers  were  suspected 
of  favoring  the  English  policy,  which  aimed  at  making  him 
our  enemy.  The  peace  with  Austria  held  only  by  a  thread. 
The  King  of  Prussia  alone  seemed  resolved  to  maintain  his 
alliance  with  us.  "Why,"  said  a  note  in  the  "Moniteur," 
"  while  the  Emperor  of  Russia  exercises  his  influence  upon 
the  Porte,  should  he  object  to  that  of  France  being  exer- 


276  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R^MUSAT. 

cised  upon  certain  portions  of  Italy  ?  When  with  Herschel's 
telescope  he  observes  from  the  terrace  of  his  palace  that 
which  passes  between  the  Emperor  of  the  French  and  a  few 
Apennine  populations,  why  should  he  exact  that  the  Em- 
peror of  the  French  shall  not  see  what  is  passing  in  the  an- 
cient empire  of  Solyman,  and  what  is  happening  in  Persia  ? 
It  is  the  fashion  to  accuse  France  of  ambition,  and  yet  how 
great  has  been  her  past  moderation,"  etc.,  etc. 

In  the  month  of  August  the  Emperor  set  out  for  Bou- 
logne. It  was  no  longer  his  purpose  to  inspect  the  flotillas, 
but  he  intended  to  review  that  numerous  army  encamped  in 
the  north,  which  before  long  he  was  destined  to  set  in  mo- 
tion. During  his  absence  the  Empress  made  an  excursion 
to  the  baths  of  Plombieres.  I  think  I  shall  usefully  employ 
this  interval  of  leisure  by  retracing  my  steps,  in  order  to 
mention  certain  particulars  concerning  M.  de  Talleyrand 
which  I  have  hitherto  omitted. 

Talleyrand,  who  had  come  back  to  France  some  time  be- 
fore, was  appointed  "  Minister  of  External  Relations  "  through 
the  influence  of  Mme.  de  Stael,  who  induced  Barms,  the 
Director,  to  select  him  for  that  post.*  It  was  under  the 
Directory  that  he  made  the  acquaintance  of  Mme.  Grand. 
Although  she  was  no  longer  in  her  first  youth,  this  lady,  who 
was  born  in  the  East  Indies,  was  still  remarkable  for  her 
beauty.  She  wished  to  go  to  England,  where  her  husband 
resided,  and  she  applied  to  M.  de  Talleyrand  for  a  passport. 
Her  beauty  and  her  visit  produced,  apparently,  such  an  effect 
upon  him  that  either  the  passport  was  not  given,  or  it  re- 
mained unused.  Mme.  Grand  remained  in  Paris ;  shortly 
afterward  she  was  observed  to  frequent  the  "  Hotel  of  Ex- 
ternal Belations,"  and  after  a  while  she  took  up  her  abode 
there.  Meanwhile,  Bonaparte  was  First  Consul ;  his  victo- 
ries and  his  treaties  had  brought  the  ambassadors  of  the  first 
Powers  in  Europe  and  a  crowd  of  other  foreigners  to  Paris. 

*0n  the  15th  of  July,  1797.    He  had  returned  to  France  in  September, 
1795.— P.  R. 


A  DECISIVE  INTERVIEW.  2T7 

Persons  who  were  obliged  by  their  position  to  frequent  M. 
de  Talleyrand's  society  accepted  the  presence  of  Mme.  Grand, 
who  did  the  honors  of  his  table  and  his  salon  with  a  good 
grace ;  but  they  were  somewhat  surprised  at  the  weakness 
which  had  consented  to  put  so  prominently  forward  a  woman 
who  was  indeed  handsome,  but  so  deficient  in  education  and 
so  faulty  in  temper  that  she  was  continually  annoying  Tal- 
leyrand by  her  foolish  conduct,  and  disturbing  him  by  her 
uncertain  humor.  M.  de  Talleyrand  has  a  very  good  temper, 
and  much  laisser-aller  in  the  events  of  every-day  life.  It  is 
easy  enough  to  rule  him  by  frightening  him,  because  he  hates 
a  disturbance,  and  Mme.  Grand  ruled  him  by  her  charms 
and  her  exactions.  "When,  however,  the  ambassadresses  were 
in  question,  difficulties  arose,  as  some  of  them  would  not  con- 
sent to  be  received  at  the  Hotel  of  External  Relations  by 
Mme.  Grand.  She  complained,  and  these  protests  on  both 
sides  came  to  the  ears  of  the  First  Consul. 

He  immediately  had  a  decisive  interview  on  this  subject 
with  Talleyrand,  and  informed  his  minister  that  he  must 
banish  Mme.  Grand  from  his  house.  No  sooner  had  Mme. 
Grand  been  apprised  of  this  decision,  than  she  went  to  Mme. 
Bonaparte,  whom  she  induced,  by  dint  of  tears  and  supplica- 
tions, to  procure  for  her  an  interview  with  Bonaparte.  She 
was  admitted  to  his  presence,  fell  on  her  knees,  and  entreated 
him  to  revoke  a  decree  which  reduced  her  to  despair.  Bo- 
naparte allowed  himself  to  be  moved  by  the  tears  and  sobs 
of  this  fair  personage,  and,  after  having  quieted  her,  he  said : 
"I  see  only  one  way  of  managing  this.  Let  Talleyrand 
marry  you,  and  all  will  be  arranged ;  but  you  must  bear  his 
name,  or  you  can  not  appear  in  his  house."  Mme.  Grand  was 
much  pleased  with  this  decision ;  the  Consul  repeated  it  to 
Talleyrand,  and  gave  him  twenty-four  hours  to  make  up  his 
mind.  It  is  said  that  Bonaparte  took  a  malign  pleasure  in 
making  Talleyrand  marry,  and  was  secretly  delighted  to  have 
this  opportunity  of  branding  his  character,  and  thus,  accord- 
ing to  his  favorite  system,  getting  a  guarantee  of  his  fidelity. 


278  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R^MUSAT. 

It  is  very  possible  that  lie  may  have  entertained  such  an  idea ; 
it  is  also  certain  that  Mme.  Bonaparte,  over  whom  tears 
always  exercised  a  great  influence,  used  all  her  power  with 
her  husband  to  induce  him  to  favor  Mme.  Grand's  petition. 

Talleyrand  went  back  to  his  hotel,  gravely  troubled  by 
the  prompt  decision  which  was  required  of  him.  There  he 
had  to  encounter  tumultuous  scenes.  He  was  attacked  by  all 
the  devices  likely  to  exhaust  his  patience.  He  was  pressed, 
pursued,  urged  against  his  inclination.  Some  remains  of 
love,  the  power  of  habit,  perhaps  also  the  fear  of  irritating  a 
woman  whom  it  is  impossible  to  suppose  he  had  not  admitted 
to  his  confidence,  combined  to  influence  him.  He  yielded, 
set  out  for  the  country,  and  found,  in  a  village  in  the  valley 
of  Montmorency,  a  cure  who  consented  to  perform  the  mar- 
riage ceremony.  Two  days  afterward  we  were  informed  that 
Mme.  Grand  had  become  Mme.  de  Talleyrand,  and  the  diffi- 
culty of  the  Corps  Diplomatique  was  at  an  end.  It  appears 
that  M.  Grand,  who  lived  in  England,  although  little  desirous 
of  recovering  a  wife  from  whom  he  had  long  been  parted, 
contrived  to  get  himself  largely  paid  for  withholding  the 
protest  against  this  marriage  with  which  he  repeatedly  men- 
aced the  newly  wedded  couple.  M.  de  Talleyrand,  wanting 
something  to  amuse  him  in  his  own  house,  brought  over  from 
London  the  daughter  of  one  of  his  friends,  who  on  her  death- 
bed had  confided  the  child  to  him.  This  child  was  that  little 
Charlotte  who  was,  as  we  all  know,  brought  up  in  his  house, 
and  who  has  been  very  erroneously  believed  to  be  his  daugh- 
ter. He  attached  himself  strongly  to  his  young  ward,  edu- 
cated her  carefully,  and,  having  adopted  her  and  bestowed 
his  name  upon  her,  married  her  in  her  seventeenth  year  to 
his  cousin  Baron  de  Talleyrand.  The  Talleyrands  were  at 
first  justly  annoyed  by  this  marriage,  but  she  ultimately  suc- 
ceeded in  gaining  their  friendship. 

Those  persons  who  are  acquainted  with  Talleyrand,  who 
know  to  what  a  height  he  carries  delicacy  of  taste,  wit,  and 
grace  in  conversation,  and  how  much  he  needs  repose,  are 


TALLEYRAND 8  MARRIAGE.  279 

astonished  that  he  should  have  united  himself  with  a  person 
so  uncongenial  to  him.  It  is,  therefore,  most  likely  that  im- 
perative circumstances  compelled  him  to  do  so,  and  that  Bona- 
parte's command  and  the  short  time  allowed  him  in  which 
to  come  to  a  decision  prevented  a  rupture,  which  in  fact 
would  have  suited  him  much  better.  What  a  difference  it 
would  have  made  for  Talleyrand  if  he  had  then  dissolved 
this  illicit  union,  and  set  himself  to  merit  and  effect  a  future 
reconciliation  with  the  Church  he  had  abandoned !  Apart 
from  desiring  for  him  that  that  reconciliation  had  been  made 
then  in  good  faith,  how  much  consideration  would  he  have 
gained  if  afterward,  when  all  things  were  reordered  and  re- 
placed, he  had  resumed  the  Roman  purple  in  the  autumn  of 
his  days,  and  at  least  repaired  in  the  eyes  of  the  world  the 
scandal  xof  his  life !  As  a  cardinal,  a  noble,  and  a  truly  dis- 
tinguished man,  he  would  have  had  a  right  to  respect  and 
regard,  and  his  course  would  not  have  been  beset  with  em- 
barrassment and  hesitation. 

In  the  situation  in  which  he  was  placed  by  his  marriage, 
he  had  to  take  constant  precaution  to  escape,  as  far  as  pos- 
sible, from  the  ridicule  which  was  always  suspended  over 
him.  No  doubt  he  managed  better  than  others  might  have 
done  in  such  a  position.  Profound  silence  respecting  his 
private  troubles,  an  appearance  of  complete  indifference  to 
the  foolish  things  which  his  wife  was  always  saying  and  the 
blunders  which  she  was  always  making,  a  haughty  demeanor 
to  those  who  ventured  to  smile  at  him  or  at  her,  extreme 
politeness,  which  was  called  benevolence,  great  social  influ- 
ence and  political  weight,  a  large  fortune,  unalterable  pa- 
tience under  insult,  and  great  dexterity  in  taking  his  re- 
venge, were  the  weapons  with  which  he  met  the  general 
condemnation;  and,  notwithstanding  his  great  faults,  the 
public  have  never  dared  to  despise  him.  Nevertheless,  it  is 
not  to  be  supposed  that  he  has  not  paid  the  private  penalty 
of  his  imprudent  conduct.  Deprived  of  domestic  happiness, 
almost  at  variance  with  his  family,  who  could  not  associate 


280  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R&MUSAT. 

with  Mme.  de  Talleyrand,  he  was  obliged  to  resort  to  an 
entirely  factitious  existence,  in  order  to  escape  from  the 
dreariness  of  his  home,  and  perhaps  from  the  bitterness  of 
his  secret  thoughts.  Public  affairs  occupied  him,  and  such 
leisure  as  they  left  him  he  gave  to  play.  He  was  always 
attended  by  a  crowd  of  followers,  and  by  giving  his  morn- 
ings to  business,  his  evenings  to  society,  and  his  nights  to 
cards,  he  never  exposed  himself  to  a  tiresome  tete-d-tete  with 
his  wife,  or  to  the  dangers  of  solitude,  which  would  have 
brought  serious  reflection.  Bent  on  getting  away  from  him- 
self, he  never  sought  sleep  until  he  was  quite  sure  that  ex- 
treme fatigue  would  enable  him  to  procure  it. 

The  Emperor  did  not  make  up  for  the  obligation  which 
he  had  imposed  on  him  by  his  conduct  to  Mme.  de  Talley- 
rand. He  treated  her  coldly,  even  rudely ;  never  admitted 
her  to  the  distinctions  of  the  rank  to  which  she  was  raised, 
without  making  a  difficulty  about  it ;  and  did  not  disguise 
the  repugnance  with  which  she  inspired  him,  even  while 
Talleyrand  still  possessed  his  entire  confidence.  Talleyrand 
bore  all  this,  never  allowed  the  slightest  complaint  to  escape 
him,  and  arranged  so  that  his  wife  should  appear  but  seldom 
at  Court.  She  received  all  distinguished  foreigners  on  cer- 
tain days,  and  on  certain  other  days  the  Government  offi- 
cials. She  made  no  visits,  none  were  exacted  from  her ;  in 
fact,  she  counted  for  nothing.  Provided  each  person  bowed 
to  her  on  entering  and  leaving  his  salon,  Talleyrand  asked 
no  more.  Let  me  say,  in  conclusion,  that  he  always  seemed 
to  bear  with  perfectly  resigned  courage  the  fatal  "tu  Vas 
voulu  "  of  Moliere's  comedy. 

In  the  course  of  these  Memoirs  I  shall  have  to  speak  of 
M.  de  Talleyrand  again,  when  I  shall  have  reached  the  pe- 
riod of  our  intimacy  with  him.* 

*  My  grandparents'  friendship  with  M.  de  Talleyrand,  which  commenced  dur- 
ing the  sojourn  of  my  grandfather  at  Milan,  became  more  intimate  in  the  course 
of  the  same  year.  My  grandmother  wrote  to  her  husband  on  the  28th  of  Sep- 
tember, 1805 :  "I  have  been  really  pleased  with  the  Minister.  In  a  brief  audi- 


MME.   GRAND.  281 

I  did  not  know  Mme.  Grand  in  the  prime  of  her  life  and 
beauty,  but  I  have  heard  it  said  that  she  was  one  of  the  most 
charming  women  of  her  time.  She  was  tall,  and  her  figure 
had  all  the  suppleness  and  grace  so  common  to  women  born 
in  the  East.  *Her  complexion  was  dazzling,  her  eyes  of  the 
brightest  blue,  and  her  slightly  retrousse  nose  gave  her,  sin- 
gularly enough,  a  look  of  Talleyrand  himself.  Her  fair 
golden  hair  was  of  proverbial  beauty.  I  think  she  was  about 
thirty-six  when  she  married  M.  de  Talleyrand.  The  elegance 
of  her  figure  was  already  slightly  injured  by  her  becoming 
stout.  This  afterward  increased,  and  by  degrees  her  features 
lost  their  delicacy  and  her  complexion  became  very  red.  The 
tone  of  her  voice  was  disagreeable,  her  manners  were  abrupt ; 
she  was  of  an  unamiable  disposition,  and  so  intolerably  stupid 
that  she  never  by  any  chance  said  the  right  thing.  Talley- 
rand's intimate  friends  were  the  objects  of  her  particular  dis- 
like, and  they  cordially  detested  her.  Her  elevation  gave 
her  little  happiness,  and  what  she  had  to  suffer  never  excited 
anybody's  interest.* 

ence  which  he  gave  me  he  showed  me  much  friendship,  after  his  fashion.  You 
may  tell  him  that  he  has  been  very  amiable,  and  that  I  have  told  you  so ;  that 
never  does  any  harm.  I  said  to  him,  laughing :  '  You  must  like  my  husband 
very  much ;  that  will  not  give  you  much  trouble,  and  will  give  me  a  great  deal 
of  pleasure.'  He  told  me  that  he  did  like  you,  and  /  believe  him.  He  insists 
that  we  suffer  too  much  from  ennui  at  the  Court  not  to  be,  all  of  us,  a  little  gal- 
lant. I  said,  '/  shall  be  longer  about  becoming  so  than  the  others,  because  lam 
not  altogether  stupid,  and  intellect  is  the  surest  safeguard?  I  was  inclined  to  say 
to  him  that  he  was  not  a  proof  of  that,  and  that  I  felt  in  myself  a  much  better  de- 
fense, the  dear  and  constant  sentiment  with  which  you  have  inspired  me,  and  which 
constitutes  the  happiness  of  my  life,  even  at  this  moment,  when  it  also  causes  a 
keen  sorrow."  That  sorrow  was  absence. — P.  R. 

*  The  papal  brief  which  relieved  M.  de  Talleyrand  from  the  excommunications 
he  had  incurred  was  considered  by  him  as  a  permission  to  become  a  layman,  and 
even  to  marry,  although  nothing  of  the  kind  was  expressed  in  it.  The  reader 
may  convince  himself  on  this  point  by  reading  the  very  interesting  work  of  Sir 
Henry  Lytton  Bulwer,  which  appears  to  me  to  be  the  most  just  and  the  most 
kindly  view  that  has  yet  been  taken  of  M.  de  Talleyrand,  as  regards  his  charac- 
ter, his  talent,  and  the  influence  which  he  exercised  in  Europe,  so  often  with 
great  utility  to  France.  The  author  speaks  thus  of  Talleyrand's  marriage: 


282  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  B&MU8AT. 

While  the  Emperor  was  reviewing  the  whole  of  his  army, 
Mme.  Murat  went  to  Boulogne  to  pay  him  a  visit,  and  he 
desired  that  Mme.  Louis  Bonaparte,  who  had  accompanied 
her  husband  to  the  baths  of  Saint  Amand,  should  also  attend 
him  there,  and  bring  her  son.  On  several  occasions  he  went 
through  the  ranks  of  his  soldiers,  carrying  this  child  in  his 
arms.  The  army  was  then  remarkably  fine,  strictly  disci- 
plined, full  of  the  best  spirit,  well  provided,  and  impatient 
for  war.  This  desire  was  destined  to  be  satisfied  before 
long. 

Notwithstanding  the  reports  in  our  newspapers,  we  were 
almost  always  stopped  in  everything  that  we  attempted  to 
do  for  the  protection  of  our  colonies.  The  proposed  inva- 
sion appeared  day  by  day  more  perilous.  It  became  neces- 
sary to  astonish  Europe  by  a  less  doubtful  novelty.  "  We 
are  no  longer,"  said  the  notes  of  the  "  Moniteur,"  addressed 
to  the  English  Government,  "  those  Frenchmen  who  were 
sold  and  betrayed  by  perfidious  ministers,  covetous  mis- 
tresses, and  indolent  kings.  You  march  toward  an  inevitable 
destiny." 

The  two  nations,  English  and  French,  each  claimed  the 
victory  in  the  naval  combat  off  Cape  Finisterre,  where  no 
doubt  our  national  bravery  opposed  a  strong  resistance  to 
the  science  of  the  enemy,  but  which  had  no  other  result  than 
to  oblige  our  fleet  to  reenter  the  port.  Shortly  afterward 
our  journals  were  full  of  complaints  of  the  insults  which 
the  flag  of  Yenice  had  sustained  since  it  had  become  a  de- 
pendency of  Austria.  We  soon  learned  that  the  Austrian 
troops  were  moving ;  that  an  alliance  between  the  Emperors 
of  Austria  and  Kussia  was  f  onned  against  us ;  and  the  Eng- 

"  The  lady  whom  he  married,  born  in  the  East  Indies,  and  separated  from 
Grand,  was  remarkable  for  her  beauty  and  for  her  lack  of  sense.  Every  one 
has  heard  the  anecdote  of  her  asking  Sir  George  Robinson  after  his  '  man  Fri- 
day.' Talleyrand,  however,  defended  his  choice  by  saying :  *  A  clever  woman 
often  compromises  her  husband ;  a  stupid  woman  only  compromises  herself.'  " 
— P.  R. 


LAST  TRACES  OF  THE  REPUBLIC.  283 

lish  journals  triumphantly  announced  a  continental  war. 
This  year  the  birthday  of  Napoleon  was  celebrated  with 
great  pomp  from  one  end  of  France  to  the  other.  He  re- 
turned from  Boulogne  on  the  3d  of  September,  and  at  that 
time  the  Senate  issued  a  decree  by  which  the  Gregorian  cal- 
endar was  to  be  resumed  on  the  1st  of  January,  1806.  Thus 
disappeared,  little  by  little,  the  last  traces  of  the  Eepublic, 
which  had  lasted,  or  appeared  to  last,  for  thirteen  years. 


CHAPTER  XIY. 

(1805.) 

M.  de  Talleyrand  and  M.  Fouch6— The  Emperor's  Speech  to  the  Senate— The  De- 
parture of  the  Emperor — The  Bulletins  of  the  Grand  Army — Poverty  in  Paris 
during  the  War— The  Emperor  and  the  Marshals— The  Faubourg  St.  Germain 
— Trafalgar — Journey  of  M.  de  Re"musat  to  Vienna. 

AT  the  period  of  which  I  am  writing,  M.  de  Talleyrand 
was  still  on  bad  terms  with  M.  Fouche,  and,  strange  to  say, 
I  remember  that  the  latter  charged  him  with  being  deficient 
in  conscientiousness  and  sincerity.  He  always  remembered 
that  on  the  occasion  of  the  attempt  of  the  3d  Mvose  (the 
infernal  machine)  Talleyrand  had  accused  him  to  Bonaparte 
of  neglect,  and  had  contributed  not  a  little  to  his  dismissal. 
On  his  return  to  the  Ministry  he  secretly  nursed  his  resent- 
ment, and  let  slip  no  opportunity  of  gratifying  it,  by  that 
bitter  and  cynical  mockery  which  was  the  habitual  tone  of 
his  conversation. 

Talleyrand  and  Fouche  were  two  very  remarkable  men, 
and  both  were  exceedingly  useful  to  Bonaparte.  But  it 
would  be  difficult  to  find  less  resemblance  and  fewer  points 
of  contact  between  any  two  persons  placed  in  such  close  and 
continuous  relations.  The  former  had  studiously  preserved 
the  carelessly  resolute  manner,  if  I  may  use  that  expression, 
of  the  nobles  of  the  old  regime.  Acute,  taciturn,  measured 
in  his  speech,  cold  in  his  bearing,  pleasing  in  conversation, 
deriving  all  his  power  from  himself  alone — for  he  held  no 
party  in  his  hand — his  very  faults,  and  even  the  stigma  of 
his  abandonment  of  his  former  sacred  state  of  life,  were  suf- 


M.  DE  TALLEYRAND  AND  M.  FOUCHfi.  285 

ficient  guarantee  to  the  Eevolutionists,  who  knew  him  to  be 
so  adroit  and  so  supple  that  they  believed  him  to  be  always 
keeping  the  means  of  escaping  them  in  reserve.  Besides, 
he  opened  his  mind  to  no  one.  He  was  quite  impenetrable 
upon  the  affairs  with  which  he  was  charged,  and  upon  his 
own  opinion  of  the  master  whom  he  served ;  and,  as  a  final 
touch  to  this  picture,  he  neglected  nothing  for  his  own  com- 
fort, was  careful  in  his  dress,  used  perfumes,  and  was  a 
lover  of  good  cheer  and  all  the  pleasures  of  the  senses.  He 
was  never  subservient  to  Bonaparte,  but  he  knew  how  to 
make  himself  necessary  to  him,  and  never  flattered  him  in 
public. 

Fouche,  on  the  contrary,  was  a  genuine  product  of  the 
Revolution.  Careless  of  his  appearance,  he  wore  the  gold 
lace  and  the  ribbons  which  were  the  insignia  of  his  dignities 
as  if  he  disdained  to  arrange  them.  He  could  laugh  at  him- 
self on  occasion :  he  was  active,  animated,  always  restless ; 
talkative,  affecting  a  sort  of  frankness  which  was  merely  the 
last  degree  of  deceit ;  boastful ;  disposed  to  seek  the  opinion 
of  others  upon  his  conduct  by  talking  about  it ;  and  sought 
no  justification  except  in  his  contempt  of  a  certain  class  of 
morality,  or  his  carelessness  of  a  certain  order  of  approba- 
tion. But  he  carefully  maintained,  to  Bonaparte's  occasional 
disquiet,  relations  with  a  party  whom  the  Emperor  felt  him- 
self obliged  to  conciliate  in  his  person.  With  all  this,  Fouche 
was  not  deficient  in  a  sort  of  good  fellowship ;  he  had  even 
some  estimable  qualities.  He  was  a  good  husband  to  an 
ugly  and  stupid  wife,  and  a  very  good,  even  a  too-indulgent, 
father.  He  looked  at  revolution  as  a  whole ;  he  hated  small 
schemes  and  constantly  recurring  suspicions,  and  it  was  be- 
cause this  was  his  way  of  thinking  that  his  police  did  not 
suffice  for  the  Emperor.  Where  Fouche  recognized  merit, 
he  did  it  justice.  It  is  not  recorded  of  him  that  he  was 
guilty  of  any  personal  revenge,  nor  did  he  show  himself 
capable  of  persistent  jealousy.  It  is  even  likely  that,  al- 
though he  remained  for  several  years  an  enemy  of  Talley- 


286  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  E^MUSAT. 

rand's,  it  was  less  because  he  had  reason  to  complain  of  him 
than  because  the  Emperor  took  pains  to  keep  up  a  division 
between  two  men  whose  friendship  he  thought  dangerous  to 
himself ;  and,  indeed,  it  was  when  they  were  reconciled  that 
he  began  to  distrust  them  both,  and  to  exclude  them  from 
affairs. 

In  1805  Talleyrand  stood  much  higher  in  favor  than 
Fouehe.  The  business  in  hand  was  to  found  a  monarchy, 
to  impose  it  upon  Europe  and  upon  France  by  skillful  diplo- 
macy and  the  pomp  of  a  Court ;  and  the  ci-devcmt  noble  was 
much  fitter  to  advise  upon  all  these  points.  He  had  an  im- 
mense reputation  in  Europe.  He  was  known  to  hold  con- 
servative opinions,  and  that  was  all  the  morality  demanded 
by  the  foreign  sovereigns.  The  Emperor,  in  order  to  inspire 
confidence  in  his  enterprise,  needed  to  have  his  signature 
supported  by  that  of  his  Minister  for  Foreign  Affairs.  So 
necessary  to  his  projects  did  he  consider  this  that  he  did 
not  grudge  the  distinction.  The  agitation  which  reigned  in 
Europe  at  the  moment  when  the  rupture  with  Austria  and 
Russia  took  place  called  for  very  frequent  consultations  be- 
tween the  Emperor  and  M.  de  Talleyrand  ;  and,  when  Bona- 
parte left  Paris  to  commence  the  campaign,  the  Minister 
established  himself  at  Strasburg,  so  that  'he  might  be  able  to 
reach  the  Emperor  when  the  French  cannon  should  announce 
that  the  hour  of  negotiations  had  arrived. 

About  the  middle  of  September  rumors  of  an  approach- 
ing departure  were  spread  at  Saint  Cloud.  M.  de  Remusat 
received  orders  to  repair  to  Strasburg,  and  there  to  prepare 
the  Imperial  lodgings ;  and  the  Empress  declared  so  de- 
cidedly her  intention  of  following  her  husband  that  it  was 
settled  she  should  go  to  Strasburg  with  him.  A  numerous 
Court  was  to  accompany  them.  As  my  husband  was  going, 
I  should  have  been  very  glad  to  accompany  him,  but  I  was 
becoming  more  and  more  of  an  invalid,  and  was  not  in  a 
state  to  travel.  I  was  therefore  obliged  to  submit  to  this 
new  separation,  a  more  sorrowful  one  than  the  former.  This 


THE  EMPERORS  SPEECH  TO   THE  SENATE.      287 

was  the  first  time  since  I  had  been  at  the  Court  that  I  had 
seen  the  Emperor  setting  out  for  the  army.  The  dangers  to 
which  he  was  about  to  be  exposed  revived  all  my  former 
attachment  to  him.  I  had  not  courage  to  reproach  him  with 
anything  when  I  saw  him  depart  on  so  serious  a  mission ; 
and  the  thought  that,  of  many  persons  who  were  going, 
there  would  no  doubt  be  some  whom  I  should  never  see 
again,  brought  tears  to  my  eyes,  and  made  my  heart  sink. 
In  the  glittering  salon  of  Saint  Cloud  I  saw  wives  and 
mothers  in  terror  and  anguish,  who  did  not  dare  to  let  their 
grief  be  seen,  so  great  was  the  fear  of  displeasing  the  Em- 
peror. The  officers  affected  carelessness,  but  that  was  the 
necessary  bravado  of  their  profession.  At  that  time,  how- 
ever, there  were  a  great  many  of  them  who,  having  attained 
a  sufficient  fortune,  and  being  unable  to  foresee  the  almost 
gigantic  height  to  which  the  continuity  of  war  was  afterward 
to  raise  them,  were  very  sorry  to  relinquish  the  pleasant  and 
quiet  life  which  they  had  now  led  for  some  years. 

Throughout  France  the  law  of  the  conscription  was 
strictly  carried  out,  and  this  caused  some  disturbance  in  the 
provinces.  The  fresh  laurels  which  our  army  was  about  to 
acquire  were  regarded  with  indifference.  But  the  soldiers 
and  subalterns  were  full  of  hope  and  ardor,  and  rushed  to 
the  frontiers  with  eagerness,  a  presage  of  success. 

On  the  20th  of  September  the  following  appeared  in  the 
"Moniteur": 

"The  Emperor  of  Germany,  without  previous  negotia- 
tion or  explanation,  and  without  any  declaration  of  war,  has 
invaded  Bavaria.  The  Elector  has  retreated  to  Warzburg, 
where  the  whole  Bavarian  army  is  assembled." 

On  the  23d  the  Emperor  repaired  to  the  Senate,  and  issued 
a  decree  calling  out  the  reserves  of  the  conscripts  of  five  years' 
standing.  Berthier,  the  Minister  of  "War,  read  a  report  on 
the  impending  war,  and  the  Minister  of  the  Interior  demon- 
strated the  necessity  of  employing  the  National  Guard  to 
protect  the  coasts. 
23 


288  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R&MUSAT. 

The  Emperor's  speech  was  simple  and  impressive  ;-it  was 
generally  approved.  Our  causes  of  complaint  against  Austria 
were  fully  set  forth  in  the  "  Moniteur."  There  is  little  .doubt 
that  England,  if  not  afraid,  was  at  least  weary  of  the  stay  of 
our  troops  on  the  coast,  and  that  it  was  her  policy  to  raise 
up  enemies  for  us  on  the  Continent,  while  the  division  of 
the  kingdom  of  Italy,  and  still  more  its  union  with  the  French 
Empire,  was  sufficiently  disquieting  to  the  Austrian  Cabinet. 
Without  a  knowledge  of  the  diplomatic  secrets  of  the  period, 
which  I  do  not  possess,  it  is  hard  to  understand  why  the 
Emperor  of  Russia  broke  with  us.  It  is  probable  that  com- 
mercial difficulties  were  making  him  anxious  about  his  rela- 
tions with  England.  It  may  be  well  to  quote  some  words  of 
Napoleon's  on  this  subject.  "  The  Emperor  Alexander,"  he 
said,  "  is  a  young  man ;  he  longs  for  a  taste  of  glory,  and, 
like  all  children,  he  wants  to  go  a  different  way  from  that 
which  his  father  followed."  Neither  can  I  explain  the  neu- 
trality of  the  King  of  Prussia,  which  was  so  advantageous  to 
us,  and  to  himself  so  fatal,  since  it  did  but  delay  his  over- 
throw for  one  year.  It  seems  to  me  that  Europe  blundered. 
The  Emperor's  character  should  have  been  better  appreciated ; 
and  there  should  have  been  either  a  clear  understanding  that 
he  must  be  always  yielded  to,  or  he  should  have  been  put 
down  by  general  consent  at  the  outset  of  his  career. 

Eut  I  must  return  to  my  narrative,  from  which  I  have 
digressed  in  order  to  treat  of  a  subject  beyond  my  pow- 
ers. 

I  passed  the  last  few  days  preceding  the  Emperor's  de- 
parture at  Saint  Cloud.  The  Emperor  worked  unremit- 
tingly; when  over-fatigued,  he  would  lie  down  for  a  few 
hours  in  the  daytime,  but  would  rise  in  the  middle  of  the 
night  and  go  on  with  his  labors.  He  was,  however,  more 
serene  and  gracious  than  at  other  times  ;  he  received  com- 
pany as  usual,  went  occasionally  to  the  theatres,  and  did  not 
forget,  when  he  was  at  Strasburg,  to  send  a  present  to 
Fleury,  the  actor,  who,  two  days  before  his  departure,  had 


DEPARTURE  OF  THE  EMPEROR.  289 

performed   Corneille's  "Menteur,"  by  which   he  had  suc- 
ceeded in  amusing  the  Emperor. 

The  Empress  was  as  full  of  confidence  as  the  wife  of 
Bonaparte  would  naturally  be.  Happy  to  be  allowed  to 
accompany  him  and  to  escape  from  the  talk  of  Paris,  which 
alarmed  her,  from  the  spying  of  her  brothers-in-law,  and  the 
monotony  of  Saint  Cloud,  delighted  with  the  fresh  oppor- 
tunity for  display,  she  looked  on  a  campaign  as  on  a  journey, 
and  maintained  a  composure  which,  as  it  could  not  by  reason 
of  her  position  proceed  from  indifference,  was  a  genuine 
compliment  to  him  whom  she  firmly  believed  fortune  would 
not  dare  to  forsake.  Louis  Bonaparte,  who  was  in  bad 
health,  was  to  remain  in  Paris,  and  had  received  orders,  as 
had  also  his  wife,  to  entertain  liberally  in  the  absence  of  the 
Emperor.  Joseph  presided  over  the  Administrative  Council 
of  the  Senate.  He  resided  at  the  Luxembourg,  where  he 
was  also  to  hold  a  Court.  Princess  Borghese  was  recovering 
her  health  at  Trianon.  Mme.  Murat  withdrew  to  Neuilly, 
where  she  occupied  herself  in  beautifying  her  charming 
dwelling ;  Murat  accompanied  the  Emperor  to  headquarters. 
M.  de  Talleyrand  was  to  remain  at  Strasburg  until  further 
orders.  M.  Maret  attended  the  Emperor;  he  was  the  au- 
thor-in-chief of  the  bulletins. 

On  the  24th  the  Emperor  set  out,  and  he  reached  Stras- 
burg without  stopping  on  the  way. 

I  returned  in  low  spirits  to  Paris,  where  I  rejoined  my 
children,  my  mother,  and  my  sister.  I  found  the  latter 
much  distressed  by  her  separation  from  M.  de  Nansouty, 
who  was  in  command  of  a  division  of  cavalry. 

Immediately  on  the  departure  of  the  Emperor,  rumors 
became  rife  in  Paris  of  an  intended  invasion  of  the  coast, 
and,  in  fact,  such  an  expedition  might  have  been  attempted  ; 
but,  fortunately,  our  enemies  were  not  quite  so  audacious 
and  enterprising  as  ourselves,  and  at  that  time  the  English 
had  not  such  confidence  in  their  army  as  since  then  it  has 
justly  inspired. 


290  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R^MUSAT. 

The  tightening  of  the  money-market  began  almost  imme- 
diately to  be  felt :  in  a  short  time  payment  at  the  Bank  was 
suspended;  money  fetched  a  very  high  price.  I  heard  it 
said  that  our  export  trade  did  not  suffice  for  our  wants; 
that  war  had  stopped  it,  and  was  raising  the  price  of  all  our 
imports.  This,  I  was  told,  was  the  cause  of  the  sudden  em- 
barrassment which  had  come  upon  us. 

Special  and  personal  anxieties  were  added  to  the  general 
depression.  Many  families  of  distinction  had  sons  in  the 
army,  and  trembled  for  their  fate.  In  what  suspense  did 
not  parents  await  the  arrival  of  bulletins  which  might  sud- 
denly apprise  them  of  the  loss  of  those  most  dear  to  them  ! 
What  agonies  did  not  Bonaparte  inflict  on  women,  on  moth- 
ers, during  many  years !  He  has  sometimes  expressed  aston- 
ishment at  the  hatred  he  at  last  inspired ;  but  could  he  expect 
to  be  forgiven  such  agonized  and  prolonged  suspense,  so  much 
weeping,  so  many  sleepless  nights,  and  days  of  agonizing 
dread  3  If  he  had  but  admitted  the  truth,  he  must  have  known 
there  is  not  one  natural  feeling  on  which  he  had  not  trampled. 

Before  his  departure,  and  in  order  to  gratify  the  nobles, 
he  created  what  was  called  the  Guard  of  Honor.  He  gave 
the  command  to  his  Grand  Master  of  Ceremonies.  It  was 
almost  funny  to  see  poor  M.  de  Segur's  zeal  in  forming  his 
Guard,  the  eagerness  displayed  by  certain  great  personages  to 
obtain  admittance  into  it,  and  the  anxiety  of  some  of  the 
chamberlains,  who  imagined  the  Emperor  would  much  ad- 
mire the  change  of  their  red  coats  for  a  military  uniform.  I 
shall  never  forget  the  surprise,  nay,  the  fright  which  M.  de 
Lugay,  Prefect  of  the  Palace,  a  mild  and  timid  person,  gave 
me,  when  he  asked  me  whether  M.  de  Remusat,  the  father 
of  a  family,  a  former  magistrate,  and  at  that  time  more  than 
forty  years  of  age,  did  not  also  intend  to  embrace  the  mili- 
tary career  thus  suddenly  opened  to  everybody.  "We  were 
beginning  to  be  accustomed  to  so  many  strange  things  that, 
in  spite  of  sense  and  reason,  I  felt  some  solicitude  on  this 
subject,  and  I  wrote  to  my  husband,  who  replied  that  he 


BULLETINS  OF  THE  GRAND  ARMY.  291 

had  not  been  seized  with  martial  ardor,  and  that  he  hoped 
the  Emperor  might  still  reckon  among  his  servants  some  who 
did  not  wear  swords. 

'  At  this  time  the  Emperor  had  partly  restored  us  to  favor. 
On  his  departure  from  Strasburg  he  confided  the  entire 
charge  of  the  Court  and  the  Empress's  household  to  my 
husband.  These  were  sufficiently  easy  duties,  with  no  great- 
er drawback  than  a  certain  amount  of  tedium.  M.  de  Tal- 
leyrand, who  also  remained  behind  at  Strasburg,  gave  some 
zest  to  the  daily  routine  of  M.  de  Kemusat's  life.  They  now 
became  really  intimate,  and  were  frequently  together.  M. 
de  Remusat,  who  was  by  nature  simple,  modest,  and  retir- 
ing, showed  to  advantage  as  he  became  better  known,  and 
M.  de  Talleyrand  recognized  his  intellectual  qualities,  his 
excellent  judgment,  and  his  uprightness.  He  began  to  trust 
him,  to  appreciate  the  safety  of  intercourse  with  him,  and  to 
treat  him  as  a  friend;  while  my  husband,  who  was  gratified 
by  receiving  such  overtures  from  a  quarter  whence  he  had 
not  expected  them,  conceived  for  him  from  that  moment  an 
affection  which  no  subsequent  vicissitude  has  lessened. 

Meanwhile  the  Emperor  had  left  Strasburg.  On  the  1st 
of  October  he  commenced  the  campaign,  and  the  entire  army, 
transported  as  if  by  magic  from  Boulogne,  was  crossing  the 
frontier.  The  Elector  of  Bavaria,  on  being  called  upon  by 
the  Emperor  of  Austria  to  afford  free  passage  to  his  troops, 
refused  to  do  so,  and  was  being  invaded  on  every  side ;  but 
Bonaparte  marched  to  his  aid  without  delay. 

We  then  received  the  first  bulletin  from  the  Grand  Army. 
It  announced  a  first  success  at  Donauworth,  and  gave  us  the 
proclamations  of  the  Emperor,  and  that  of  the  Viceroy  of 
Italy.  Massena  was  ordered  to  reenforce  the  latter,  and  to 
push  into  the  Tyrol  with  the  united  French  and  Italian 
armies.  To  phrases  well  calculated  to  inflame  the  zeal  of 
our  soldiers  were  added  others  of  biting  sarcasm  against  our 
enemy.  A  circular  addressed  to  the  inhabitants  of  Austria, 
asking  for  contributions  of  lint,  was  published,  accompanied 


MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE 

by  the  following  note :  "  "We  hope  the  Emperor  of  Austria 
will  not  require  any,  as  he  has  gone  back  to  Vienna." 

Insults  to  the  ministers  were  not  spared,  nor  to  some  of 
the  great  Austrian  nobles,  among  whom  was  the  Count  de 
Colloredo,  who  was  accused  of  being  governed  by  his  wife, 
herself  entirely  devoted  to  English  policy.  These  unworthy 
attacks  occurred  promiscuously  in  the  bulletins,  among  really 
elevated  sentiments,  which,  although  put  forth  with  Roman 
rather  than  with  French  eloquence,  were  very  effective. 

Bonaparte's  activity  in  this  campaign  was  positively  mar- 
velous. From  the  beginning  he  foresaw  the  advantages  that 
would  accrue  to  him  from  the  first  blunders  of  the  Austrians, 
and  also  his  ultimate  success.  Toward  the  middle  of  October 
he  wrote  to  his  wife :  "  Rest  easy ;  I  promise  you  the  shortest 
and  most  brilliant  of  campaigns." 

At  Wertingen  our  cavalry  obtained  some  advantage  over 
the  enemy,  and  M.  de  Nansouty  distinguished  himself.  A 
brilliant  skirmish  also  took  place  at  Giinzburg,  and  the  Aus- 
trians were  soon  retreating  from  every  point. 

The  army  became  more  and  more  enthusiastic,  and  seemed 
to  take  no  heed  of  the  approach  of  winter.  Just  before  going 
into  action,  the  Emperor  harangued  his  soldiers  on  the  Lech 
bridge,  in  the  midst  of  thickly  falling  snow.  "  But,"  con- 
tinued the  bulletin,  "  his  words  were  of  fire,  and  the  soldiers 
forgot  their  privations."  The  bulletin  ended  with  these  pro- 
phetic words :  "  The  destinies  of  the  campaign  are  fixed."  * 

*  The  actual  text  of  the  fifth  bulletin  from  the  Grand  Army  is  as  follows : 
"  Augsburg,  20th  Vendemiaire,  year  14  (12th  October,  1805).  The  Emperor  was 
on  the  Lech  bridge  when  the  division  under  General  Marmont  defiled  past  him. 
He  ordered  each  regiment  to  form  in  circle,  and  spoke  to  them  of  the  enemy's 
position,,  of  the  imminence  of  a  great  battle,  and  of  his  confidence  in  them.  He 
made  this  speech  in  the  most  severe  weather.  Snow  was  falling  thick,  the  troops 
stood  in  mud  up  to  their  knees,  and  the  cold  was  intense;  but  the  Emperor's 
words  were  of  fire,  and  while  listening  to  him  the  soldiers  forgot  their  fatigue 
and  their  privations,  and  were  impatient  for  the  moment  of  battle.  Never  can 
great  events  have  been  decided  in  a  shorter  time.  In  less  than  a  fortnight  the 
destinies  of  the  campaign,  and  of  the  Austrian,  and  Russian  armies,  will  be 
fixed."— P.  R. 


PO  VERTY  IN  PARIS.  293 

The  taking  of  Ulm  and  the  capitulation  of  its  immense 
garrison  completed  the  surprise  and  terror  of  Austria,  and 
served  to  silence  the  factious  spirit  in  Paris,  which  had  been 
with  difficulty  repressed  by  the  police.  It  is  hard  to  prevent 
Frenchmen  from  ranging  themselves  on  the  side  of  glory, 
and  we  began  to  share  .in  that  which  our  army  was  gaining. 
But  the  monetary  difficulty  was  still  painfully  felt;  trade 
suffered,  the  theatres  were  empty,  an  increase  of  poverty 
was  perceptible,  and  the  only  hope  that  sustained  us  was 
that  a  campaign  so  brilliant  must  be  followed  by  an  imme- 
diate peace. 

After  the  capitulation  of  Ulm,  the  Emperor  himself  dic- 
tated the  following  phrase  in  the  bulletin :  "  The  panegyric 
of  the  army  may  be  pronounced  in  two  words :  It  is  worthy 
of  its  leader."  *  He  wrote  to  the  Senate,  sending  the  colors 
taken  from  the  enemy,  and  announcing  that  the  Elector  had 
returned  to  his  capital.  Letters  from  him  to  the  bishops, 
requesting  them  to  offer  thanksgiving  for  our  victories,  were 
also  published. 

From  the  very  beginning  of  the  campaign  pastoral  letters 
had  been  read  in  every  metropolitan  church,  justifying  the 
war,  and  encouraging  the  new  recruits  to  march  promptly 
whithersoever  they  should  be  called.  The  bishops  now  be- 
gan the  task  once  more,  and  exhausted  the  Scriptures  for 
texts  to  prove  that  the  Emperor  was  protected  by  the  God 
of  armies."  f 

*  These  words  are,  in  fact,  to  be  found  in  the  sixth  bulletin  from  the  Grand 
Army,  dated  Elchingen,  26th  Vend6miaire,  year  14  (18th  October,  1805).— P.  R. 

f  The  extreme  subservience  shown  by  the  clergy  toward  the  Emperor  was 
not  sufficient  in  his  eyes,  if  we  may  judge  by  the  following  letter,  which  he 
addressed  to  Fouche"  during  the  campaign:  "4th  Nivose,  year  14  (25th  Decem- 
ber, 1805).  I  perceive  some  difficulty  on  the  subject  of  reading  out  the  bulletins 
in  churches ;  I  do  not  consider  this  advisable.  It  would  only  give  more  im- 
portance to  priests  than  is  their  due ;  for  it  gives  them  a  right  of  comment,  and, 
should  the  news  be  bad,  they  would  not  fail  to  remark  on  it.  It  is  thus  because 
there  are  no  fixed  principles :  now  there  are  to  be  no  priests  at  all,  again  there 
are  to  be  too  many ;  all  this  must  come  to  an  end.  M.  Portalis  was  wrong  to 
write  his  letter  without  knowing  my  intentions  on  the  subject." — P.  R. 


294  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  RfiMUSAT. 

Joseph  Bonaparte  was  the  bearer  of  his  brother's  letter 
to  the  Senate.  That  body  decreed  that,  in  reply,  an  address 
of  congratulation  should  be  carried  to  headquarters  by  a  cer- 
tain number  of  its  members. 

At  Strasburg  the  Empress  received  a  number  of  German 
princes,  who  came  to  join  her  Court^  and  to  offer  her  their 
homage  and  congratulations.  With  a  natural  pride  she 
showed  them  the  Emperor's  letters,  in  which  long  before- 
hand he  announced  to  her  the  victories  he  was  about  to 
gain;  and  either  his  skillful  foresight  must  needs  be  ad- 
mired, or  else  the  power  of  a  destiny  which  never  for  a 
moment  belied  itself  must  be  recognized. 

Marshal  Ney  distinguished  himself  at  Elchingen,  and  the 
Emperor  consented  so  fully  to  leave  the  honors  of  the  occa- 
sion to  him  that  afterward,  when  he  created  dukes,  he  de- 
sired that  the  Marshal's  title  should  be  Duke  of  Elchingen. 

I  use  the  word  consented,  because  it  is  admitted  that 
Bonaparte  was  not  always  perfectly  just  in  apportioning 
the  fame  which  he  accorded  to  his  generals.  In  one  of  his 
occasional  fits  of  frankness,  I  heard  him  say  that  he  liked  to 
bestow  glory  only  on  those  who  knew  not  how  to  sustain  it. 
According  to  his  policy  with  respect  to  the  military  chiefs 
under  his  orders,  or  the  degree  of  confidence  which  he  placed 
in  them,  he  would  either  preserve  silence  concerning  certain 
victories  of  theirs,  or  change  the  blunder  of  a  particular 
marshal  into  a  success.  A  general  would  hear  through  some 
bulletin  of  an  action  which  had  never  taken  place,  or  of  a 
speech  which  he  had  never  made.  Another  would  find  him- 
self famous  in  the  newspapers,  and  would  wonder  how  he 
had  deserved  to  be  thus  distinguished.  Others  would  en- 
deavor to  protest  against  his  neglect  of  them,  or  against 
distorted  accounts  of  events.  But  how  was  it  possible  to 
correct  what  had  once  been  read,  and  was  already  effaced  by 
more  recent  news  ?  For  Bonaparte's  rapidity  in  war  gave 
us  daily  something  fresh  to  learn.  On  these  occasions  he 
would  either  impose  silence  on  the  protest,  or,  if  he  wished 


THE  EMPFROR  AND   TEE  MARSHALS.  295 

to  appease  the  offended  officer,  a  sum  of  money,  a  prize  from 
the  enemy,  or  permission  to  levy  a  tax  was  granted  to  him, 
and  thus  the  affair  would  end. 

This  crafty  spirit,  which  was  inherent  in  Bonaparte's 
character,  and  which  he  employed  adroitly  in  dealing  with 
his  marshals  and  superior  officers,  may  be  justified,  up  to  a 
certain  point,  by  the  difficulty  he  occasionally  met  with  in 
managing  so  large  a  number  of  individuals  of  widely  differ- 
ing characters  but  similar  aims.  He  was  perfectly  cognizant 
of  the  scope  of  their  various  talents ;  he  knew  in  what  man- 
ner each  of  them  might  be  useful  to  him  :  while  rewarding 
their  services  he  was  perpetually  obliged  to  repress  their 
pride  and  jealousy.  He  was  forced  to  use  every  means  in 
his  power  to  secure  his  own  success ;  above  all,  he  could  miss 
no  opportunity  of  making  them  feel  their  entire  dependence 
on  himself,  and  that  their  renown  as  well  as  their  fortune  was 
in  his  hands  alone.*  This  point  once  reached,  he  might 

*  I  find  among  my  father's  papers  a  note  which  further  develops  what  is 
said  here  concerning  the  marshals-  of  the  Empire:  "The  Emperor  took  the 
utmost  license  in  composing  his  bulletins,  seeking  especially  to  eclipse  all  the 
others,  and  to  establish  his  own  infallibility  ;  then  considering  the  kind  of  effect 
he  wished  to  produce  on  foreigners  and  on  the  public  in  France ;  and,  lastly, 
having  regard  to  his  intentions  and  his  good  or  ill  will  toward  his  lieutenants. 
Truth  came  a  long  way  behind  all  these  things.  Nothing  could  equal  the  sur- 
prise of  his  officers  on  reading  the  bulletins  which  came  back  to  them  from 
Paris ;  but  they  made  few  complaints.  The  Emperor  is,  like  the  Convention 
and  Louis  XIV.,  one  of  the  few  powers  able  to  subdue  and  to  discipline  the 
vanity  of  subordinates. 

"  The  Emperor  praised  the  great  generals  of  his  time  but  little.  Military 
men  are  more  jealous  of  each  other  than  those  of  any  other  profession ;  they 
are  the  least  to  be  relied  on  in  their  estimation  of  each  other.  They  are  dis- 
couraging or  irritating  when  judging  one  of  another.  To  this  natural  jealousy 
the  Emperor  added  the  calculations  of  a  despot  who  will  have  no  one  of  impor- 
tance except  himself.  Desaix  is  the  only  man  of  whom  he  spoke  with  any 
enthusiasm,  and  he  knew  him  only  at  the  opening  of  his  career  of  power.  He 
always  continued,  I  believe,  to  treat  him  well,  but  Desaix  died  [at  Marengo, 
June  14,  1800].  His  comments  on  his  lieutenants,  in  the  beginning  of  his  nar- 
rative of  the  first  campaign  in  Italy,  are  remarkable,  and  their  severity  has  no 
appearance  of  jealousy.  Generally  he  spoke  of  the  marshals  with  a  not  very 
flattering  freedom.  In  his  correspondence  with  King  Joseph  we  may  read  what 


296  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R^MUSAT. 

feel  certain  not  to  be  importuned  by  them,  and  to  be  at 
liberty  to  reward  their  services  at  his  own  price.  In  general, 
however,  the  marshals  have  had  no  cause  to  complain  that 
he  did  not  rate  them  highly.  The  rewards  obtained  by  them 
were  frequently  gigantic ;  and,  the  long  continuance  of  war 
having  raised  their  hopes  to  the  highest  pitch,  we  have  seen 
them  become  dukes  and  princes  without  being  astonished  at 
the  fact,  and  end  by  thinking  that  royalty  alone  could  wor- 
thily crown  their  destiny.  Enormous  sums  were  divided 
among  them,  and  every  kind  of  -exaction  from  the  van- 
quished was  permitted  them ;  some  of  them  made  immense 
fortunes,  and,  if  most  of  these  disappeared  with  the  Govern- 
ment .under  which  they  had  been  amassed,  it  was  because 

he  said  of  Mass6na,  Jourdan,  and  some  others.  General  Foy  told  me  that  he 
had  heard  him  say  of  Soult,  *  He  can  array  a  battle  well,  but  is  incapable  of 
fighting  one.'  Then  he  would  dwell  on  the  exactions,  the  pretensions,  the  am- 
bition, and  the  cupidity  of  his  marshals.  *  No  one  knows,'  he  said  to  M.  Pas- 
quier,  '  what  it  is  to  have  to  deal  with  two  such  men  as  Soult  and  Ney.'  His 
lieutenants  frequently  paid  him  back,  in  their  conversations,  what  he  had  said 
concerning  them.  It  was  not  in  the  army,  especially  during  the  campaigns  that 
followed  that  of  Austerlitz,  that  he  was  chiefly  held  in  admiration,  esteem,  and 
affection.  He  had,  as  it  were,  an  off-hand  way  of  making  war.  He  neglected 
many  things,  and  risked  many.  He  sacrificed  everything  to  his  personal  success. 
Becoming  more  and  more  confident  in  his  destiny,  and  in  the  terror  inspired  by 
his  presence,  his  only  thought  was  to  repair  any  blunders,  checks,  or  losses  by 
decisive  blows  struck  with  his  own  hand.  He  was  always  resolute  in  denying  or 
in  preserving  silence  concerning  anything  which  might  injure  him.  This  ren- 
dered the  service  unbearable  to  those  generals  who  were  at  a  distance  from 
himself.  They  retained  all  their  responsibility,  were  often  without  the  neces- 
sary means  of  action,  and  received  only  orders  impossible  to  execute,  and  which 
were  intended  to  put  them  in  the  wrong.  They  accused  him  consequently  of 
selfishness,  of  injustice,  of  perfidy,  and  even  of  malice  toward  them,  or  of  envy. 
Barante  has  told  me  that,  when  the  auditors  arrived  at  the  army,  they  were  con- 
founded at  what  they  heard  said  among  the  staff,  and  sometimes  even  at  head- 
quarters. He  himself,  when  attached  to  the  staff  of  Marshal  Lannes — during 
the  campaign  of  Poland,  I  believe — heard  him  frequently  say  at  his  own  table 
that  the  Emperor,  being  jealous  of  him  and  eager  to  ruin  him,  gave  him  orders 
with  this  end  in  view  ;  and  once,  when  suffering  from  internal  pain,  he  went  so 
far  as  to  say  the  Emperor  had  tried  to  have  him  poisoned."  I  have  quoted  the 
whole  of  this  interesting  passage  ;  but  it  is  evident  that  all  this  was  in  embryo 
at  the  time  of  the  campaign  of  1805. — P.  R. 


A  SOLEMN  TE  DEUM.  297 

they  had  been  acquired  so  easily  that  their  upstart  possessors 
naturally  spent  them  lavishly,  feeling  confident  that  the  fa- 
cilities for  making  such  fortunes  would  never  be  exhausted. 

In  this  first  campaign  of  Napoleon's  reign,  although  the 
army  was  as  yet  subject  to  a  discipline  which  was  afterward 
considerably  relaxed,  the  vanquished  people  found  themselves 
a  prey  to  the  rapacity  of  the  conqueror,  and  the  obligation  of 
receiving  some  field  officer  for  a  single  night,  or  even  for  a 
few  hours,  cost  many  a  great  Austrian  noble  or  prince  the 
entire  destruction  and  pillage  of  his  home.  The  common 
soldiers  were  under  discipline,  and  there  was  an  outward  ap- 
pearance of  order,  but  there  was  nothing  to  hinder  a  marshal 
from  taking  away  with  him,  on  his  departure,  any  objects 
which  had  caught  his  fancy.  After  the  close  of  the  war,  I 

have  often  heard  the  wife  of  Marshal  X relate,  with 

laughter,  that  her  husband,  knowing  her  taste  for  music,  had 
sent  her  an  immense  collection  of  music-books,  which  he  had 
found  in  some  German  prince's  house ;  and  she  would  add, 
with  equal  ingenuousness,  that  he  had  dispatched  so  many 
packing-cases  full  of  lusters  and  Vienna  glass,  which  he  had 
picked  up  in  every  direction,  to  their  house  in  Paris,  that  she 
was  quite  at  a  loss  to  know  where  to  put  them. 

While  the  Emperor  knew  so  well  how  to  hold  the  preten- 
sions of  his  generals  in  check,  he  spared  no  pains  to  encourage 
and  satisfy  the  rank  and  file.  After  the  taking  of  Ulm,  a 
decree  was  issued  to  the  effect  that  the  month  of  Yende- 
miaire,  which  was  just  closed,  should  in  itself  be  reckoned  as 
a  campaign. 

On  the  feast  of  All  Saints  a  solemn  Te  Dewm  was  sung 
at  Notre  Dame,  and  Joseph  gave  several  entertainments  in 
honor  of  our  victories. 

Meanwhile  Masse*na  was  distinguishing  himself  by  vic- 
tories in  Italy,  and  it  soon  became  certain  that  the  Emperor 
of  Austria  would  have  to  pay  dearly  for  this  great  campaign. 
The  Russian  army  was  hastening  by  forced  marches  to  his 
aid,  but  had  not  yet  joined  the  Austrians,  who  meanwhile 


, 


298  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  RfiMUSAT. 

were  being  defeated  by  our  Emperor.  It  was  said  at  the 
time  that  the  Emperor  Francis  made  a  blunder  by  entering 
upon  the  war  before  the  Emperor  Alexander  was  in  a  posi- 
tion to  help  him. 

During  this  campaign  Bonaparte  induced  the  King  of 
Naples  to  remain  neutral,  and  agreed  to  rid  him  of  the 
French  garrison  which  he  had  hitherto  been  obliged  to  main- 
tain. Several  decrees  relating  to  the  administration  .of  France 
were  promulgated  from  various  headquarters,  and  the  former 
Doge  of  Genoa  was  created  a  senator. 

The  Emperor  liked  to  appear  to  be  engaged  in  a  number 
of  different  affairs  at  once,  and  to  show  that  he  could  cast 
what  he  called  "  an  eagle  glance "  in  every  direction  at  the 
same  instant.  For  this  reason,  and  also  on  account  of  his 
suspicious  disposition,  he  wrote  a  letter  to  the  Minister  of 
Police,  desiring  him  to  keep  a  watchful  eye  on  the  Faubourg 
St.  Germain,  meaning  those  members  of  the  French  nobility 
who  remained  opposed  to  him,  and  stating  that  he  had  been 
informed  of  certain  things  that  had  been  said  against  him  in 
his  absence,  and  would  punish  them  on  his  return. 

It  was  Fouche*'s  habit,  on  receiving  such  orders  as  these, 
to  send  for  the  persons,  both  men  and  women,  who  were 
more  specially  accused.  Whether  he  really  thought  the  Em- 
peror's displeasure  was  excited  by  mere  trifles,  and  that,  as 
he  sometimes  used  to  say,  it  was  foolish  to  prevent  French 
people  from  talking,  or  whether  he  desired  to  win  golden 
opinions  by  his  own  moderation,  after  advising  those  persons 
for  whom  he  had  sent  to  be  more  cautious,  he  would  conclude 
by  admitting  that  the  Emperor  made  too  much  ado  about 
trivialities.  Thus,  by  degrees,  he  acquired  a  reputation  for 
justice  and  moderation,  which  did  away  with  the  first  im- 
pressions of  his  character.  The  Emperor,  who  was  informed 
of  this  conduct  on  his  part,  resented  it,  and  was  secretly  on 
his  guard  against  one  so  careful  to  conciliate  all  parties. 

On  the  12th  of  November  our  victorious  army  entered 
the  gates  of  Vienna.  The  newspapers  gave  full  details  of 


TRAFALGAR.  999 

the  circumstances,  and  these  accounts  acquire  additional  in- 
terest from  the  fact  that  they  were  all  dictated  by  Bonaparte, 
and  that  he  frequently  took  upon  himself  to  invent,  as  an 
afterthought,  circumstances  or  anecdotes  likely  to  strike  the 
popular  imagination. 

"The  Emperor,"  says  the  bulletin,  "has  taken  up  his 
abode  in  the  palace  of  Schonbrunn ;  he  writes  in  a  cabinet  in 
which  stands  a  statue  of  Maria  Theresa.  On  observing  this, 
he  exclaimed :  '  Ah !  if  that  great  queen  were  still  living,  she 
would  not  allow  herself  to  be  led  by  such  a  woman  as  Mme. 
de  Colloredo !  Surrounded  by  her  nobles,  she  would  have 
ascertained  the  wishes  of  her  people.  She  would  never  have 
allowed  her  provinces  to  be  ravaged  by  the  Muscovites,' 
etc."* 

Meanwhile  some  bad  news  came  to  temper  Bonaparte's 
success.  Admiral  Nelson  had  just  beaten  our  fleet  at  Tra- 
falgar. The  French  navy  had  fought  with  splendid  bravery, 
but  had  been  disastrously  defeated.  This  produced  a  bad 
effect  in  Paris,  and  disgusted  the  Emperor  for  ever  with 
naval  enterprises.  He  became  so  deeply  prejudiced  against 
the  French  navy  that  from  that  time  it  was  scarcely  possible 
to  induce  him  to  take  any  interest  in  or  pay  any  attention  to 
the  subject.  Vainly  did  the  sailors  or  soldiers  who  had  dis- 
tinguished themselves  on  that  fatal  day  endeavor  to  obtain 
recognition  or  sympathy  for  the  dangers  they  had  encoun- 
tered :  they  were  practically  forbidden  even  to  revert  to  the 
disaster;  and  when,  in  after-years,  they  wanted  to  obtain 
any  favor,  they  took  care  not  to  claim  it  on  the  score  of  the 
admirable  courage  to  which  only  the  English  dispatches  ren- 
dered justice. 

Immediately  on  the  Emperor's  return  to  Vienna,  he  sent 
for  M.  de  Talleyrand,  perceiving  that  the  time  for  negotia- 
tions was  at  hand,  and  that  the  Emperor  of  Austria  was 
about  to  treat  for  peace.  It  is  probable  that  our  Emperor 
had  already  decided  on  making  the  Elector  of  Bavaria  a 

*  The  whole  of  this  lengthy  effusion  may  be  read  in  the  "  Moniteur." 


300  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R&MUSAT. 

King,  on  enlarging  his  dominions,  and  also  on  the  marriage 
of  Prince  Eugene. 

M.  de  Remusat  was  sent  to  Paris  in  order  that  he  might 
convey  the  Imperial  insignia  and  the  crown  diamonds  to  Vi- 
enna. I  saw  him  but  for  an  instant,  and  learned  with  fresh 
vexation  that  he  was  about  to  leave  for  a  still  more,  distant 
country.  On  his  return  to  Strasburg  he  received  orders  to 
proceed  at  once  to  Vienna,  and  the  Empress  was  directed  to 
repair  to  Munich  with  the  whole  Court.  Nothing  could  ex- 
ceed the  honors  rendered  to  her  in  Germany.  Princes  and 
Electors  crowded  to  welcome  her,  and  the  Elector  of  Bavaria, 
especially,  neglected  nothing  to  make  her  reception  all  that 
could  be  desired.  She  remained  at  Munich,  waiting  for  her 
husband's  return. 

M.  de  Remusat,  while  on  his  journey,  reflected  sadly 
upon  the  condition  of  the  countries  through  which  he  passed. 
The  land  still  reeked  of  battle.  Devastated  villages,  roads 
encumbered  with  corpses  and  ruins,  brought  before  his  eyes 
all  the  horrors  of  war.  The  distress  of  the  vanquished  added 
an  element  of  danger  to  the  discomfort  of  this  journey  so 
late  in  the  season.  Everything  contributed  painfully  to  im- 
press the  imagination  of  a  man  who  was  a  friend  to  human- 
ity, and  who  lamented  the  disasters  which  result  from  the 
passions  of  conquerors.  My  husband's  letters,  full  of  pain- 
ful reflections,  grieved  me  deeply,  and  served  to  lessen  the 
enthusiasm  which  had  been  beginning  to  revive  as  I  read 
accounts  of  victories,  in  which  the  bright  side  only  was 
shown  to  the  public. 

When  M.  de  R&nusat  reached  Vienna,  the  Emperor  was 
no  longer  there.  The  negotiations  had  lasted  but  a  short 
time,  and  our  army  was  marching  forward.  M.  de  Talley- 
rand and  M.  Maret  remained  at  Schonbrunn,  where  they 
both  lived,  but  without  intimacy.  M.  Maret's  familiarity 
with  the  Emperor  gave  him  a  sort  of  influence,  which  he 
kept  up,  as  I  have  already  said,  by  adoration,  true  or  feigned, 
and  displayed  in  all  his  words  and  actions.  M.  de  Talleyrand 


M.  DE  RtiMUSAT  GOES  TO   VIENNA.  301 

would  make  fun  of  this  sometimes,  and  quiz  the  Secretary  of 
State,  who  resented  such  conduct  excessively.  He  was  there- 
fore always  on  his  guard  against  M.  de  Talleyrand,  and  dis- 
liked him  sincerely. 

M.  de  Talleyrand,  who  was  thoroughly  weary  of  Vienna, 
greeted  M.  de  Kemusat  on  his  arrival  with  great  cordiality, 
and  the  intimacy  between  them  increased  during  the  idle 
life  both  were  leading.  It  is  very  likely  that  M.  Maret,  who 
wrote  regularly  to  the  Emperor,  reported  upon  this  new 
friendship,  and  that  it  was  displeasing  to  a  person  always 
prone  to  take  offense,  and  apt  to  detect  ulterior  motives  in 
the  most  unimportant  actions  of  life. 

M.  de  Talleyrand,  finding  scarcely  any  one  but  M.  de  Ke- 
musat who  could  understand  him,  disclosed  to  him  the  polit- 
ical views  with  which  the  victories  of  our  armies  inspired 
him.  He  warmly  desired  to  consolidate  the  peace  of  Europe, 
and  his  great  fear  was  that  the  glamour  of  victory  and  the 
predilections  of  the  military  men  surrounding  the  Emperor, 
all  of  them  having  again  become  accustomed  to  war,  would 
induce  the  latter  to  prolong  it.  "  When  the  moment  comes 
for  actually  concluding  peace,"  he  said,  "  you  will  see  that 
the  greatest  difficulty  I  shall  have  will  be  in  treating  with 
the  Emperor  himself,  and  it  will  take  much  talking  to  sober 
the  intoxication  produced  by  gunpowder."  In  these  moments 
of  confidence  M.  de  Talleyrand  would  speak  candidly  of  the 
Emperor.  While  he  admitted  the  great  defects  of  his  char- 
acter, he  believed  him  to  be  destined  irrevocably  to  end  the 
Revolution  in  France,  and  to  found  a  lasting  government ; 
and  he  also  believed  that  he  himself  should  be  able  to  rule 
the  Emperor's  conduct  with  regard  to  Europe.  "  If  I  fail  to 
persuade  him,"  he  said,  "  I  shall,  at  any  rate,  know  how  to 
fetter  him  in  spite  of  himself,  and  to  force  him  to  take  some 
repose." 

M.  de  Eemusat  was  delighted  to  find  an  able  statesman, 
and  one  who  enjoyed  the  confidence  of  the  Emperor,  full  of 
projects  so  wise  in  themselves ;  and  he  began  to  regard  him 


302  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  RfiMUSAT. 

with  the  esteem  that  every  French  citizen  owes  to  a  man 
who  endeavors  to  control  the  effects  of  a  boundless  ambition. 
He  often  wrote  to  me  that  he  was  delighted  with  the  discov- 
eries which  his  intimacy  with  M.  de  Talleyrand  enabled  him 
to  make,  and  I  began  to  feel  interest  in  one  who  alleviated 
the  wearisome  exile  of  my  husband. 

In  my  hours  of  solitude  and  anxiety,  my  husband's  let- 
ters were  my  only  pleasure  and  the  sole  charm  of  my  exist- 
ence. Although  he  prudently  avoided  details,  I  could  see 
that  he  was  satisfied  with  his  position.  Then  he  would  de- 
scribe to  me  the  different  sights  he  had  seen.  He  would  tell 
me  of  his  drives  or  walks  in  Yienna,  which  he  described  as  a 
large  and  beautiful  city,  and  of  his  visits  to  certain  important 
personages  who  had  remained  there,  as  well  as  to  other  fam- 
ilies. He  was  struck  by  their  extreme  attachment  to  the 
Emperor  Francis.  These  good  people  of  Yienna,  although 
their  city  was  conquered,  did  not  hesitate  openly  to  express 
their  hopes  of  a  speedy  return  to  the  paternal  rule  of  their 
master ;  and,  while  they  sympathized  with  him  in  his  re- 
verses, they  never  uttered  a  single  reproach. 

Good  order  was  maintained  in  Yienna ;  the  garrison  was 
under  strict  discipline,  and  the  inhabitants  had  no  great  cause 
of  complaint  against  their  conquerors.  The  French  entered 
into  some  of  the  amusements  of  the  place ;  they  frequented 
the  theatres,  and  it  was  at  Yienna  that  M.  de  Kemusat  first 
heard  the  celebrated  Italian  singer  Crescentini,  and  subse- 
quently engaged  him  for  the  Emperor's  musical  service. 


CHAPTEE  XY. 

(1805.) 

The  Battle  of  Austerlitz — The  Emperor  Alexander — Negotiations — Prince  Charles 
— M.  d' Andre— M.  de  Be"musat  in  Disgrace— Duroc— Savary— The  Treaty  of 
Peace. 

THE  arrival  of  the  Eussian  forces  and  the  severe  condi- 
tions exacted  by  the  conqueror  made  the  Emperor  of  Austria 
resolve  on  once  more  trying  the  fortune  of  war.  Having 
assembled  his  forces  and  joined  the  Emperor  Alexander,  he 
awaited  Bonaparte,  who  was  advancing  to  meet  him.  The 
two  immense  armies  met  in  Moravia,  near  the  little  village 
of  Austerlitz,  which,  until  then  unknown,  has  become  for 
ever  memorable  by  reason  of  the  great  victory  which  France 
won  there. 

Bonaparte  resolved  to  give  battle  on  the  following  day, 
the  1st  of  December,  the  anniversary  of  his  coronation. 

The  Czar  had  sent  Prince  Dolgorouki  to  our  headquar- 
ters with  proposals  of  peace,  which,  if  the  Emperor  has  told 
the  truth  in  his  bulletins,  could  hardly  be  entertained  by  a 
conqueror  in  possession  of  his  enemy's  capital.  If  we  may 
believe  him,  the  surrender  of  Belgium  was  demanded,  and 
that  the  Iron  Crown  should  be  placed  on  another  head. 
The  envoy  was  taken  through  a  part  of  the  encampment 
which  had  been  purposely  left  in  confusion ;  he  was  deceived 
by  this,  and  misled  the  Emperors  by  his  report  of  the  state 
of  things. 

The  bulletin  of  those  two  days,  the  1st  and  2d  of  Decem- 
ber, states  that  the  Emperor,  on  returning  to  his  quarters 
24 


304  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R&MUSAT. 

toward  evening,  spoke  these  words:  "This  is  the  fairest 
evening  of  my  life ;  but  I  regret  to  think  that  I  must  lose  a 
good  number  of  these  brave  fellows.  I  feel,  by  the  pain  it 
gives  me,  that  they  are  indeed  my  children ;  and  I  reproach 
myself  for  this  feeling,  for  I  fear  it  may  render  me  unfit  to 
make  war." 

The  following  day,  in  addressing  his  soldiers,  he  said: 
"  This  campaign  must  be  ended  by  a  thunder-clap.  If  France 
is  to  make  peace  only  on  the  terms  proposed  by  Dolgorouki, 
Russia  shall  not  obtain  them,  even  were  her  army  encamped 
on  the  heights  of  Montmartre."  Yet  it  was  decreed  that 
these  same  armies  should,  one  day,  be  encamped  there,  and 
that  at  Belleville  Alexander  was  to  receive  Napoleon's  envoy, 
coming  to  offer  him  peace  on  any  terms  he  chose  to  dictate. 

I  will  not  transcribe  the  narrative  of  that  battle,  so  truly 
honorable  to  our  arms — it  will  be  found  in  the  "  Moniteur  "  ; 
and  the  Emperor  of  Eussia,  with  characteristic  and  noble 
simplicity,  declared  that  the  dispositions  taken  by  the  Em- 
peror to  insure  success,  the  skill  of  his  generals,  and  the  ar- 
dor of  the  French  soldiers,  were  all  alike  incomparable.  The 
flower  of  the  three  nations  fought  with  unflagging  determina- 
tion ;  the  two  Emperors  were  obliged  to  fly  in  order  to  es- 
cape being  taken,  and,  but  for  the  conferences  of  the  follow- 
ing day,  it  seems  that  the  Emperor  of  Russia  would  have 
found  his  retreat  very  difficult. 

The  Emperor  dictated  almost  from  the  field  of  battle  the 
narrative  of  all  that  had  taken  place  on  the  1st,  the  2d,  and 
the  3d  of  December.  He  even  wrote  part  of  it  himself. 
The  dispatch,  hurriedly  composed,  yet  full  of  details  and 
very  interesting,  even  at  the  present  day,  on  account  of  the 
spirit  in  which  it  was  conceived,  consisted  of  twenty-five 
pages  covered  with  erasures  and  with  references,  and  was 
sent  to  M.  Maret  at  Yienna,  to  be  immediately  put  in  form 
and  sent  to  the  "  Moniteur  "  in  Paris. 

On  receiving  this  dispatch,  M.  Maret  hastened  to  com- 
municate it  to  M.  de  Talleyrand  and  M.  de  Remusat.  All 


AFTER   THE  BATTLE  OF  AU3TERLITZ.  3Q5 

three  were  then  residing  in  the  palace  of  the  Emperor  of 
Austria ;  they  shut  themselves  up  in  the  Empress's  private 
apartment,  then  occupied  by  M.  de  Talleyrand,  in  order  to 
decipher  the  manuscript.  The  handwriting  of  the  Emperor, 
which  was  always  very  illegible,  and  his  bad  spelling,  made 
this  a  somewhat  lengthy  task.  The  order  of  events  had  to 
be  rearranged,  and  incorrect  expressions  to  be  replaced  by 
more  suitable  ones,  and  then,  by  the  advice  of  M.  de  Talley- 
rand and  to  the  great  terror  of  M.  Maret,  certain  phrases 
were  suppressed,  as  too  humiliating  to  the  foreign  sovereigns, 
or  so  directly  eulogistic  of  Bonaparte  himself  that  one  won- 
ders he  could  have  penned  them.  They  retained  certain 
phrases  which  were  underscored,  and  to  which  it  was  evident 
he  attached  importance.  This  task  lasted  several  hours,  and 
was  interesting  to  M.  de  Remusat,  as  it  gave  him  an  oppor- 
tunity of  observing  the  very  different  methods  of  serving 
the  Emperor  adopted  by  the  two  Ministers  respectively. 

After  the  battle,  the  Emperor  Francis  asked  for  an  in- 
terview, which  took  place  at  the  French  Emperor's  quar- 
ters. 

"  This,"  said  Bonaparte,  "  has  been  my  only  palace  for 
the  last  two  months." 

"  You  make  such  good  use  of  it,"  replied  the  Emperor  of 
Austria,  "  that  it  ought  to  be  agreeable  to  you." 

"  It  is  asserted,"  says  the  bulletin,  "  that  the  Emperor, 
in  speaking  of  the  Emperor  of  Austria,  used  these  words : 
*  That  man  has  led  me  to  commit  an  error,  for  I  could  have 
followed  up  my  victory,  and  have  taken  the  whole  Russian 
and  Austrian  army  prisoners;  but,  after  all,  there  will  be 
some  tears  the  less.' " 

According  to  the  bulletin,  the  Czar  was  let  off  easily. 
Here  is  the  account  of  the  visit  which  Savary  was  sent  to 
make  to  him : 

"  The  Emperor's  aide-de-camp  had  accompanied  the  Em- 
peror of  Germany  after  the  interview,  in  order  to  learn 
whether  the  Emperor  of  Russia  would  agree  to  the  capitula- 


306  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  RtiMUSAT. 

fcion.  He  found  the  remnant  of  the  Russian  army  without 
artillery  or  baggage,  and  in  frightful  disorder. 

"  It  was  midnight ;  General  Meerfeld  had  been  repulsed 
from  Golding  by  Marshal  Davoust,  and  the  Russian  army 
was  surrounded — not  a  man  could  escape.  Prince  Czarto- 
ryski  presented  General  Savary  to  the  Emperor. 

" '  Tell  your  master,'  said  the  Czar, i  that  I  am  going  away ; 
that  he  did  wonders  yesterday,  that  his  achievements  have 
increased  my  admiration  for  him,  that  he  is  predestined  by 
Heaven,  and  that  my  army  would  require  a  hundred  years 
to  equal  his.  But  can  I  withdraw  in  safety  ? '  *  Yes,  sire,  if 
your  Majesty  ratifies  what  the  two  Emperors  of  France  and 
Austria  have  agreed  upon  in  their  interview.'  '  And  what  is 
that  ? '  *  That  your  Majesty's  army  shall  return  home  by 
stages  to  be  regulated  by  the  Emperor,  and  that  it  shall  evac- 
uate Germany  and  Austrian  Poland.  On  these  conditions  I 
have  it  in  commission  to  go  to  our  outposts,  and  give  them 
orders  to  protect  your  retreat,  as  the  Emperor  is  desirous  to 
protect  the  friend  of  the  First  Consul.'  '  What  guarantee  is 
required  ? '  '  Your  word,  sire.'  '  I  give  it  you.' 

"  General  Savary  set  out  on  the  instant  at  full  gallop,  and, 
having  joined  Davoust,  he  gave  orders  to  suspend  all  opera- 
tions and  remain  quiet.  It  is  to  be  hoped  that  the  generosity 
of  the  Emperor  of  France  on  this  occasion  may  not  be  so 
soon  forgotten  in  Russia  as  was  his  sending  back  six  thousand 
men  to  the  Emperor  Paul,  with  expressions  of  his  esteem. 

"  General  Savary  had  an  hour's  conversation  with  the 
Emperor  of  Russia,  and  found  him  all  that  a  man  of  good 
sense  and  good  feeling  ought  to  be,  whatever  reverses  he 
may  have  experienced. 

"The  Emperor  asked  him  about  the  details  of  the  day. 
'  You  were  inferior  to  me,'  he  said,  (  and  yet  you  were  supe- 
rior upon  all  the  points  of  attack.'  '  That,  sire,'  answered 
the  General,  '  is  the  art  of  war,  and  the  fruit  of  fifteen  years 
of  glory.  This  is  the  fortieth  battle  the  Emperor  has  fought.' 
'  True.  He  is  a  great  warrior.  As  for  me,  this  is  the  first 


SPECULATION.  307 

time  I  have  seen  fighting.  I  have  never  had  any  pretension 
to  measure  myself  with  him.'  '  When  you  have  experience, 
sire,  you  may  perhaps  surpass  him.'  '  I  shall  now  go  away 
to  my  capital.  I  came  to  lend  my  aid  to  the  Emperor  of 
Austria ;  he  has  had  me  informed  that  he  is  content,  and  I 
am  the  same.'  "  * 

There  was  a  good  deal  of  speculation  at  that  time  as  to 
what  was  the  Emperor's  real  reason  for  consenting  to  make 
peace  after  this  battle,  instead  of  pushing  his  victory  further ; 
for,  of  course,  nobody  believed  in  the  motive  which  was  as- 
signed for  it,  i.  e.,  the  sparing  of  so  many  tears  which  must 
otherwise  have  been  shed. 

May  we  conclude  that  the  day  of  Austerlitz  had  cost  him 
so  dear  as  to  make  him  shrink  from  incurring  another  like  it, 
and  that  the  Russian  army  was  not  so  utterly  defeated  as  he 
would  have  had  us  believe  ?  Or  was  it  that  again  he  had 
done  as  he  himself  expressed  it,  when  he  was  asked  why  he 
had  put  an  end  to  the  march  of  victory  by  the  treaty  of  Leo- 
ben  :  "  I  was  playing  at  vingt-et-un,  and  I  stopped  short  at 
vingt "  \  May  we  believe  that  Bonaparte,  in  his  first  year 
of  empire,  did  not  yet  venture  to  sacrifice  the  lives  of  the 
people  as  ruthlessly  as  he  afterward  sacrificed  them,  and  that, 
having  entire  confidence  in  M.  de  Talleyrand  at  that  period, 
he  yielded  more  readily  to  the  moderate  policy  of  his  Minis- 
ter ?  Perhaps,  too,  he  believed  that  he  had  reduced  the  Aus- 
trian power  by  his  campaign  more  than  he  really  had  reduced 
it ;  for  he  said,  after  his  return  from  Munich,  "  I  have  left 
the  Emperor  Francis  too  many  subjects." 

"Whatever  may  have  been  his  motives,  he  deserves  praise 
for  the  spirit  of  moderation  that  he  maintained  in  the  midst 
of  an  army  heated  by  victory,  and  which  certainly  was  at 
that  moment  desirous  of  prolonging  the  war.  The  marshals 

*  All  these  anecdotes  are  related  in  the  30th  and  Slst  bulletins  of  the  Grand 
Army,  dated  from  Austerlitz,  12th  and  14th  Frimaire,  year  14  (3d  and  5th  De- 
cember, 1806),  pages  543  and  555  of  vol.  xi.  of  the  "  Correspondence  of  Napo- 
leon the  First,"  published  by  order  of  the  Emperor  Napoleon  the  Third.— P.  K. 


308  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R&MVSAT. 

and  all  the  officers  about  the  Emperor  did  everything  iii 
their  power  to  induce  him  to  carry  on  the  campaign ;  they 
were  certain  of  victory  everywhere,  and  by  shaking  the  pur- 
pose of  their  chief  they  created  for  M.  de  Talleyrand  all  the 
difficulties  that  he  had  foreseen.  The  Minister,  summoned 
to  headquarters,  had  to  contend  with  the  disposition  of  the 
army.  He  maintained,  alone  and  unsupported,  that  peace 
must  be  concluded — that  the  Austrian  power  was  necessary 
to  the  equilibrium  of  Europe ;  and  it  was  then  that  he  said, 
u  When  you  shall  have  weakened  all  the  powers  of  the  cen- 
ter, how  are  you  to  hinder  those  of  the  extremities — the  Eus- 
sians,  for  instance — from  falling  upon  them?"  In  reply  to 
this  he  was  met  by  private  interests,  by  a  personal  and  insa- 
tiable desire  for  the  chances  of  fortune  which  the  continu- 
ance of  the  war  might  offer ;  and  certain  persons,  who  knew 
the  Emperor's  character  well,  said,  "  If  even  we  do  not  put 
an  end  to  this  affair  on  the  spot,  you  will  see  that  we  shall 
commence  another  campaign  by  and  by." 

As  for  the  Emperor  himself,  disturbed  by  this  diversity 
of  opinion,  urged  by  his  love  of  war,  and  influenced  by  his 
habitual  distrust,  he  allowed  M.  de  Talleyrand  to  perceive 
that  he  suspected  him  of  a  secret  understanding  with  the 
Austrian  ambassador,  and  of  sacrificing  the  interests  of 
France.  M.  de  Talleyrand  answered  with  that  firmness 
which  he  always  maintains  in  great  affairs,  when  he  has 
taken  a  certain  line :  "  You  deceive  yourself.  My  object 
is  to  sacrifice  the  interest  of  your  generals,  which  is  no  con- 
cern of  mine,  to  the  interests  of  France.  Eeflect  that  you 
lower  yourself  by  saying  such  things  as  they  say,  and  that 
you  are  worthy  to  be  something  more  than  a  mere  soldier." 
The  Emperor  was  flattered  by  being  praised  at  the  expense 
of  his  former  companions  in  arms ;  and  by  adroitness  of  this 
kind  M.  de  Talleyrand  succeeded  in  gaining  his  ends.  At 
length  he  brought  the  Emperor  to  resolve  on  sending  him  to 
Presburg,  where  the  negotiations  were  to  take  place ;  but  it 
is  a  strange  and  probably  unexampled  fact  that  Bonaparte, 


MEETING  OF  THE  TWO  EMPERORS.  309 

while  giving  M.  de  Talleyrand  powers  to  treat  for  peace, 
actually  deceived  him  on  a  point  of  vital  importance,  and 
placed  in  his  path  the  greatest  difficulty  that  ever  a  negotia- 
tor had  experienced. 

On  the  occasion  of  the  meeting  of  the  two  Emperors 
after  the  battle,  the  Emperor  of  Austria  consented  to  relin- 
quish the  State  of  Venice ;  but  he  had  demanded  that  the 
portion  of  the  Tyrol  conquered  by  Massena  should  be  re- 
stored to  Austria,  and  Napoleon,  no  doubt  affected  in  spite 
of  his  mastery  over  his  emotions,  and  a  little  off  his  guard  in 
the  presence  of  this  vanquished  sovereign,  who  had  come  to 
discuss  his  interests  in  person  on  the  battle-field  where  the 
bodies  of  his  subjects  who  had  fallen  in  his  cause  still  lay, 
had  not  been  able  to  maintain  his  inflexibility.  He  gave  up 
the  Tyrol ;  but  no  sooner  had  the  interview  come  to  an  end 
than  he  repented  of  what  he  had  done,  and,  when  giving  M. 
de  Talleyrand  details  of  the  engagements  to  which  he  had 
pledged  himself,  he  kept  that  one  secret.* 

The  Minister  having  set  out  for  Presburg,  Bonaparte  re- 
turned to  Vienna,  and  took  up  his  abode  in  the  palace  at 
Schonbrunn.  He  occupied  himself  in  reviewing  his  army, 
verifying  his  losses,  and  reforming  each  corps  as  it  presented 
itself  for  inspection.  In  his  pride  and  satisfaction  in  the 
results  of  the  campaign,  he  was  good-humored  with  every- 
body, behaved  well  to  all  those  members  of  the  Court  who 
awaited  him  at  Vienna,  and  took  great  pleasure  in  relating 
the  wonders  of  the  war. 

On  one  point  only  did  he  exhibit  displeasure.  He  was 
greatly  surprised  that  his  presence  produced  so  little  effect 
upon  the  Viennese,  and  that  it  was  so  difficult  to  induce 
them  to  attend  the  fetes  he  provided  for  them,  and  the  din- 
ners at  the  palace  to  which  he  invited  them.  Bonaparte 
could  not  understand  their  attachment  to  a  conquered  sov- 

*  In  the  definitive  treaty  the  Tyrol  was  given  to  Bavaria  in  consideration  of 
the  marriage  of  the  Princess  Augusta  with  Eugene  de  Beauharnais,  Viceroy  of 
Italy.-?.  R. 


310  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  RfiMUSAT. 

ereign — one,  too,  so  much  inferior  to  himself.  One  day  he 
spoke  quite  openly  about  this  to  M.  de  Kemusat.  "  You 
have  passed  some  time  at  Vienna,"  he  said,  "  and  have  had 
opportunities  of  observing  them.  What  a  strange  people 
they  are !  They  seem  insensible  alike  to  glory  and  to  re- 
verses." M.  de  Remusat,  who  had  formed  a  high  opinion 
of  the  Viennese,  and  admired  their  disinterested  and  loyal 
character,  replied  by  praising  them,  and  relating  several  in- 
stances of  their  attachment  to  their  sovereign  of  which  he 
had  been  an  eye-witness.  "  But,"  said  Bonaparte,  "  they 
must  sometimes  have  talked  of  me.  "What  do  they  say  ? " 
"  Sire,"  answered  M.  de  Kemusat,  "  they  say,  'The  Emperor 
Napoleon  is  a  great  man,  it  is  true ;  but  our  Emperor  is  per- 
fectly good,  and  we  can  love  none  but  him.'  "  These  senti- 
ments, which  were  all  unchanged  by  misfortune,  were  in- 
comprehensible to  a  man  who  recognized  no  merit  except  in 
success.  When,  after  his  return  to  Paris,  he  heard  of  the 
touching  reception  given  by  the  Viennese  to  their  vanquished 
Emperor,  he  exclaimed :  "  What  people !  If  I  came  back 
to  Paris  thus,  I  should  certainly  not  be  received  after  that 
fashion." 

A  few  days  after  the  Emperor's  return,  M.  de  Talleyrand 
arrived  at  Vienna  from  Presburg,  to  the  great  surprise  of 
everybody.  The  Austrian  ministers  at  Presburg  had  brought 
forward  the  subject  of  the  Tyrol ;  he  had  been  obliged  to 
admit  that  he  had  no  instructions  on  that  point,  and  he  now 
came  to  obtain  them.  He  was  much  displeased  at  having 
been  treated  in  such  a  manner.  When  he  spoke  of  this  to 
the  Emperor,  the  latter  told  him  that  in  a  yielding  moment, 
of  which  he  now  repented,  he  had  acceded  to  the  request  of 
the  Emperor  Francis,  but  that  he  was  quite  resolved  not  to 
keep  his  word.  M.  de  Remusat  told  me  that  M.  de  Talley- 
rand, of  whom  he  saw  a  great  deal  at  this  time,  was  really 
indignant.  Not  only  did  he  perceive  that  war  was  about  to 
begin  again,  but  that  the  Cabinet  of  France  was  stained  by 
perfidy,  and  a  portion  of  the  dishonor  would  inevitably  fall 


PRINCE  CHARLES.  311 

upon  him.  His  mission  to  Presburg  would  henceforth  be 
ridiculous,  would  show  how  little  influence  over  his  master 
he  possessed,  and  would  destroy  his  personal  credit  in  Europe, 
which  he  took  such  care  to  preserve.  The  marshals  raised 
their  war-cry  anew.  Murat,  Berthier,  Maret,  all  the  flatter- 
ers of  the  Emperor's  ruling  passion,  seeing  to  which  side  he 
leaned,  urged  him  on  toward  what  they  called  "  glory."  M. 
de  Talleyrand  had  to  bear  reproaches  from  every  one,  and 
he  often  said  to  my  husband,  bitterly  enough :  "  I  find  no  one 
but  yourself  here  to  show  me  any  friendship  ;  it  would  take 
very  little  more  to  make  those  people  regard  me  as  a  traitor." 
His  conduct  at  this  period,  and  his  patience,  did  him  honor. 
He  succeeded  in  bringing  the  Emperor  back  to  his  way  of 
thinking  upon  the  necessity  of  making  peace,  and,  after 
having  extracted  from  him  the  final  word  which  he  required, 
he  set  out  a  second  time  for  Presburg,  better  satisfied,  al- 
though he  could  not  obtain  the  restitution  of  the  Tyrol.  On 
taking  leave  of  M.  de  Eemusat,  he  said,  "  I  shall  settle  the 
affair  of  the  Tyrol,  and  induce  the  Emperor  to  make  peace, 
in  spite  of  himself." 

During  Bonaparte's  stay  at  Schonbrunn  he  received  a 
letter  from  Prince  Charles,  to  the  effect  that,  being  full  of 
admiration  for  his  person,  the  Prince  wished  to  see  and  con- 
verse with  him.  The  Emperor,  flattered  by  this  compliment 
from  a  man  who  enjoyed  a  high  reputation  in  Europe,  fixed 
upon  a  small  hunting-lodge  a  few  leagues  from  the  palace  as 
the  place  of  meeting,  and  directed  M.  de  Remusat  to  join 
the  other  persons  who  were  to  accompany  him.  He  also 
bade  him  take  with  him  a  very  richly  mounted  sword. 
"  After  our  conversation,"  said  he,  "  you  will  hand  it  to  me. 
I  wish  to  present  it  to  the  Prince  on  leaving  him." 

The  Emperor  joined  the  Prince,  and  they  remained  in 
private  conference  for  some  time.  "When  he  came  out  of 
the  room  my  husband  approached  him,  according  to  the 
orders  he  had  received.  Bonaparte  impatiently  waved  him 
off,  telling  him  that  he  might  take  the  sword  away;'  and 


312  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R&MUSAT. 

when  he  returned  to  Schonbrunn  he  spoke  slightingly  of  the 
Prince,  saying  that  he  had  found  him  very  commonplace, 
and  by  no  means  worthy  of  the  present  he  had  intended  for 
him.* 

I  must  now  relate  an  incident  which  concerned  M.  de 
Remusat  personally,  and  which  once  more  checked  the  favor 
that  the  Emperor  seemed  disposed  to  extend  toward  him.  I 
have  frequently  remarked  that  our  destiny  always  arranged 
matters  so  that  we  should  not  profit  by  the  advantages  of  our 
position,  but  since  that  time  I  have  often  felt  thankful  to 
Providence ;  for  that  very  contrariety  preserved  us  from  a 
more  disastrous  fall. 

In  the  early  years  of  the  Consular  Government  the 
King's  party  had  clung  to  the  hope  of  a  revival  of  favorable 
chances  for  him  in  France,  and  they  had  more  than  once 
tried  to  establish  an  understanding  with  the  country.  M. 
d' Andre,  formerly  a  deputy  to  the  Constituent  Assembly,  an 
emigre,  and  devoted  to  the  royal  cause,  had  undertaken 
Royalist  missions  to  some  of  the  sovereigns  of  Europe,  and 
Bonaparte  was  perfectly  aware  of  that  fact.  M.  d' Andre 
was,  like  M.  de  Remusat,  a  native  of  Provence,  and  they 
had  been  schoolfellows.  M.  d' Andre  had  also  been  a  magis- 
trate prior  to  the  Revolution  (he  was  Councilor  to  the  Par- 
liament of  Aix),  and,  although  they  did  not  keep  up  any 
mutual  relations,  they  were  not  entirely  strangers.  At  the 
period  of  which  I  am  writing,  M.  d' Andre,  disheartened  by 
the  failure  of  his  fruitless  efforts,  convinced  that  the  Impe- 
rial cause  was  absolutely  victorious,  and  weary  of  a  wander- 
ing life  and  consequently  straitened  means,  was  longing  to 
return  to  his  own  country.  Being  in  Hungary  during  the 
campaign  of  1805,  he  sent  his  wife  to  Vienna,  and  appealed 
to  his  friend  General  Mathieu  Dumas  to  obtain  leave  for 
him.  The  General,  although  rather  alarmed  at  having  to 

*  This  is  a  softened  version  of  what  the  Emperor  said.  The  truth  is  that, 
when  his  Chamberlain  drew  near  to  remind  him  of  his  intentions  and  to  hand 
him  the  sword,  the  Emperor  said :  "  Let  me  alone ;  he's  a  fool !  " 


M.  DE  ANDR&  313 

undertake  such  a  mission,  promised  to  take  steps  in  the  mat- 
ter, but  advised  Mine,  d' Andre  to  see  M.  de  Remusat  and 
procure  his  interest.  One  morning  Mme.  d' Andre  arrived. 
My  husband  received  her  as  he  conceived  he  ought  to  re- 
ceive the  wife  of  a  former  friend ;  he  was  much  concerned 
at  the  position  in  which  she  represented  M.  d' Andre  to  be, 
and,  not  knowing  that  there  were  particular  circumstances  in 
the  case  which  were  likely  to  render  the  Emperor  implacable, 
thinking  besides  that  his  victories  might  incline  him  to  clem- 
ency, consented  to  present  her  petition.  His  official  position 
as  Keeper  of  the  Wardrobe  gave  him  the  right  to  enter  the 
Emperor's  dressing-room.  He  hastened  down  to  his  Majes- 
ty's apartment,  and  found  him  half  dressed  and  in  a  good 
humor,  whereupon  he  immediately  gave  him  an  account  of 
Mme.  d' Andre's  visit,  and  preferred  the  request  which  he  had 
undertaken  to  urge. 

At  the  mention  of  the  name  of  M.  d' Andre  the  Emper- 
or's face  darkened.  "  Do  you  know,"  said  he,  "  that  you  are 
talking  to  me  of  a  mortal  enemy  ? "  "  No,  sire,"  replied  M. 
de  Remusat;  "I  am  ignorant  whether  your  Majesty  has 
really  reason  to  complain  of  him ;  but,  if  such  be  the  case,  I 
would  venture  to  ask  pardon  for  him.  M.  d' Andre  is  poor 
and  proscribed ;  he  asks  only  that  he  may  return  and  grow 
old  in  our  common  country."  "Have  you  any  relations 
with  him?"  "None,  sire."  "And  why  do  you  interest 
yourself  in  him  2 "  "  Sire,  he  is  a  Provencal ;  he  was  edu- 
cated with  me  at  Juilly,  he  is  of  my  own  profession,  and  he 
was  my  friend."  "  You  are  very  fortunate,"  said  the  Em- 
peror, darting  a  fierce  glance  at  him,  "  to  have  such  motives 
to  excuse  you.  Never  speak  of  him  to  me  again  ;  and  know 
this:  if  he  were  at  Vienna,  and  I  could  get  hold  of  him, 
he  should  be  hanged  within  twenty-four  hours."  Having 
said  these  words,  the  Emperor  turned  his  back  on  M.  de 
Remusat. 

Wherever  the  Emperor  was  with  his  Court,  he  habitually 
held  what  was  called  his  levee  every  morning.  So  soon  as 


314  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  REMUSAT. 

he  was  dressed,  he  entered  a  reception-room,  and  those  per- 
sons who  formed  what  was  called  the  "  service  "  were  sum- 
moned. These  were  the  great  officers  of  his  household,  M. 
de  Remusat,  as  Keeper  of  the  Wardrobe  and  First  Cham- 
berlain, and  the  generals  of  his  guard.  The  second  levee 
was  composed  of  the  Chamberlains,  of  such  generals  of  the 
army  as  could  present  themselves,  and,  in  Paris,  of  the  Pre- 
fect of  Paris,  the  Prefect  of  Police,  the  Princes,  and  the 
Ministers.  Sometimes  he  greeted  all  these  personages 
silently,  with  a  mere  bow,  and  dismissed  them  at  once. 
He  gave  orders  when  it  was  necessary,  and  he  did  not  hesi- 
tate to  scold  any  one  with  whom  he  was  displeased,  without 
the  slightest  regard  to  the  awkwardness  of  giving  or  receiv- 
ing reprimands  before  a  crowd  of  witnesses.  . 

After  he  left  M.  de  Remusat,  the  Emperor  held  his 
levee ;  then  he  sent  everybody  away,  and  held  a  long  con- 
versation with  General  Savary.  On  its  conclusion,  Savary 
rejoined  my  husband  in  one  of  the  reception-rooms,  took 
him  aside,  and  addressed  him  after  a  fashion  which  would 
appear  very  strange  to  any  one  unacquainted  with  the  crudity 
of  the  General's  principles  in  certain  matters. 

"  Let  me  congratulate  you,"  said  he,  accosting  M.  de  Re"- 
musat,  "  on  a  fine  opportunity  of  making  your  fortune,  of 
which  I  strongly  advise  you  to  avail  yourself.  You  played 
a  dangerous  game  just  now  by  talking  to  the  Emperor  of 
M.  d'  Andre",  but  all  may  be  set  right  again.  Where  is  he  ? 
But,  now  I  think,  of  it,  he  is  in  Hungary — at  least,  his  wife 
told  me  so.  Ah,  bah  !  don't  dissimulate  about  it.  The  Em- 
peror believes  that  he  is  in  Yienna ;  he  is  convinced  that  you 
know  where  he  is,  and  he  wants  you  to  tell."  "  I  assure 
you,  General,"  replied  M.  de  Remusat,  "  that  I  am  abso- 
lutely ignorant  of  where  he  is.  I  had  no  correspondence 
with  him.  His  wife  came  to  see  me  to-day  for  the  first 
time ;  she  begged  me  to  speak  for  her  husband  to  the  Em- 
peror ;  I  have  done  so,  and  that  is  all."  "  Well,  then,  if 
that  be  so,  send  for  her  to  come  to  you  again.  She  will 


M.  DE  RtiMUSAT  IN  DISGRACE.  315 

have  no  suspicion  of  you.  Make  her  talk,  and  try  to  elicit 
from  her  where  her  husband  is.  You  can  not  imagine  how 
much  you  will  please  the  Emperor  by  rendering  him  this 
service." 

M.  de  Remusat,  utterly  confounded  at  this  speech,  was 
quite  unable  to  conceal  his  astonishment.  "  What ! "  he  ex- 
claimed, "  you  make  such  a  proposal  as  that  to  me  ?  I  told 
the  Emperor  that  I  was  the  friend  of  M.  d' Andre;  you 
also  know  that,  and  you  would  have  me  betray  him,  give 
him  up,  and  that  by  means  of  his  wife,  who  has  trusted 
me  ! "  Savary  was  astonished,  in  his  turn,  at  the  indigna- 
tion of  M.  de  Remusat.  "What  f oily  ! "  said  he.  "Take 
care  you  do  not  spoil  your  luck !  The  Emperor  has  more 
than  once  had  occasion  to  doubt  that  you  are  as  entirely  de- 
voted to  him  as  he  would  have  you  to  be.  Now,  here  is  an 
opportunity  for  removing  his  suspicions,  and  you  will  be 
very  unwise  if  you  let  it  escape." 

The  conversation  lasted  for  some  time.  M.  de  Remusat 
was,  of  course,  unshaken ;  he  assured  Savary  that,  far  from 
seeking  out  Mme.  d' Andre,  he  would  not  even  consent  to  see 
her,  and  he  informed  her,  through  General  Mathieu  Dumas, 
of  the  failure  of  his  mission.  Savary  returned  to  the  sub- 
ject in  the  course  of  the  day,  and  said,  over  and  over  again  : 
"  You  are  throwing  away  your  chances  ;  I  confess  I  can  not 
make  you  out."  "  That  does  not  matter,"  my  husband  would 
reply. 

And,  in  fact,  the  Emperor  did  resent  this  refusal,  and 
assumed  toward  M.  de  Remusat  the  harsh,  icy  tone  which 
was  always  a  mark  of  his  displeasure.  M.  de  Remusat  en- 
dured it  with  resignation,  and  complained  only  to  Duroc,  the 
Grand  Marshal  of  the  Palace,  who  understood  his  difficulty 
better  than  Savary  could,  but  regretted  that  anything  should 
have  occurred  to  diminish  his  favor  with  Bonaparte.  He 
also  congratulated  my  husband  on  his  conduct,  which  seemed 
to  him  an  act  of  the  greatest  courage  ;  for  not  to  obey  the  Em- 
peror was,  in  his  eyes,  the  most  wonderful  thing  in  the  world. 


316  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  B^MUSAT. 

Duroc  was  a  man  of  a  singular  character.  His  mind  was 
narrow  ;  his  feelings  and  thoughts  were  always,  perhaps  de- 
liberately, confined  to  a  small  circle ;  but  he  lacked  neither 
cleverness  nor  clear-sightedness.  He  was  filled,  perhaps, 
rather  with  submission  than  devotion  to  Bonaparte,  and  be- 
lieved that  no  one  placed  near  him  could  use  any  or  every 
faculty  better  than  in  exactly  obeying  him. 

In  order  not  to  fail  in  this,  which  he  considered  a  strict 
duty,  he  would  not  allow  himself  even  a  thought  beyond 
the  obligations  of  his  post.  Cold,  silent,  and  impenetrable 
as  to  every  secret  confided  to  him,  I  believe  he  had  made  it 
a  law  to  himself  never  to  reflect  on  the  orders  he  received. 
He  did  not  flatter  the  Emperor ;  he  did  not  seek  to  please 
him  by  tale-bearing,  which,  though  often  tending  to  no  re- 
sult, was  yet  gratifying  to  Bonaparte's  naturally  suspicious 
mind  ;  but,  like  a  mirror,  Duroc  reflected  for  his  master  all 
that  had  taken  place  in  his  presence,  and,  like  an  echo,  he 
repeated  his  master's  words  in  the  same  tone  and  manner  in 
which  they  had  been  uttered.  Were  we  to  have  fallen  dead 
before  his  eyes  in  consequence  of  a  message  of  which  he  was 
the  bearer,  he  would  still  have  delivered  it  with  imperturba- 
ble precision. 

I  do  not  think  he  ever  inquired  of  himself  whether  the 
Emperor  was  or  was  not  a  great  man ;  he  was  the  master, 
and  that  was  enough.  His  obedience  made  him  of  great  use 
to  the  Emperor ;  the  interior  of  the  palace,  the  entire  man- 
agement of  the  household  and  its  expenditure,  was  his 
charge,  and  everything  was  regulated  with  perfect  brder  and 
extreme  economy,  and  yet  with  great  magnificence. 

Marshal  Duroc  had  married  a  Spanish  lady  of  great  for- 
tune, little  beauty,  and  a  good  deal  of  intelligence.  She  was 
the  daughter  of  a  Spanish  banker  named  Hervas,  who  had 
been  employed  in  some  second-rate  diplomatic  capacity,  and 
had  subsequently  been  created  Marquis  d'Abruenara.  He 
was  Minister  in  Spain  under  Joseph  Bonaparte.  Mme.  Du- 
roc had  been  brought  up  at  Mme.  Campan's  school,  where 


DUROC.  317 

Mme.  Louis  Bonaparte,  Mme.  Savary,  Mme.  Davoust,  Mme. 
Ney,  and  others,  had  also  been  educated. 

She  and  her  husband  lived  together  on  good  terms,  but 
without  that  perfect  union  which  is  so  great  a  source  of  con- 
solation to  those  who  have  to  endure  the  restraints  of  a 
Coiirt.  He  would  not  allow  her  to  hold  an  opinion  of  her 
own  on  passing  events,  or  to  have  any  familiar  friend ;  and 
he  had  none  himself.  I  have  never  known  any  one  who 
felt  less  need  of  friendship,  or  who  cared  less  for  the  plea- 
sures of  conversation.  He  had  not  the  slightest  idea  of  social 
life ;  he  did  not  know  the  meaning  of  a  taste  for  literature 
or  art ;  and  this  indifference  to  things  in  general,  which  he 
combined  with  the  most  perfect  obedience  to  orders,  while 
he  never  showed  any  sign  of  weariness  or  constraint,  nor  yet 
the  slightest  appearance  of  enthusiasm,  made  him  quite  a 
remarkable  character,  and  interesting  to  observe.  He  was 
greatly  esteemed  at  Court,  or  at  any  rate  was  of  great  im- 
portance. Everything  was  referred  to  him,  and  to  him  all 
complaints  were  addressed.  He  attended  to  everybody,  sel- 
dom offering  an  opinion,  still  less  a  counsel ;  but  he  listened 
with  attention,  faithfully  reported  what  was  said,  and  never 
showed  either  the  slightest  mark  of  ill  will  or  the  least  sign 
of  interest.* 

*  "  This  sketch  of  the  Due  de  Friuli,"  writes  my  father,  "  is  in  perfect  con- 
formity with  all  well-founded  contemporary  opinion.  Few  men  have  ever  been 
more  harsh,  more  cold,  more  selfish,  without  bearing  any  ill  will  to  others.  His 
justice,  his  honesty,  his  trustworthiness  were  incomparable.  He  had  great  tal- 
ent for  organization.  But  there  was  one  curious  fact  of  which  my  mother  seems 
to  have  been  unaware,  although  it  is  acknowledged  to  have  been  true :  he  did 
not  like  the  Emperor,  or,  at  any  rate,  judged  him  with  severity.  In  later  times 
he  was  wearied  out  by  Bonaparte's  temper,  and  still  more  by  his  system  of  gov- 
ernment, and  on  the  day  preceding  his  death  he  let  this  be  perceived,  even  by 
the  Emperor."  Marshal  Marmont,  who  knew  him  well,  has  left  a  sketch  of  bis 
character  which  bears  all  the  marks  of  truth  :  "  The  Emperor  felt  for  him  what 
in  such  a  man  was  almost  friendship,  for  he  wrote  thus  from  Haynau,  on  June  7, 
1813,  to  Mme.  de  Montesquieu :  *  The  death  of  the  Due  de  Friuli  grieves  me. 
It  is  the  first  time  for  twenty  years  that  he  has  not  divined  what  would  give  me 
pleasure.'  "-—P.  JL 


318  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R^MUSAT. 

Bonaparte,  who  had  great  skill  in  utilizing  men,  liked  to 
be  served  by  one  who  stood  so  completely  apart  from  others. 
There  was  no  danger  in  aggrandizing  such  a  man  as  this ;  he 
therefore  loaded  him  with  honors  and  riches.  His  gifts  to 
Savary,  which  were  also  very  considerable,  were  dictated  by 
a  different  motive.  "  That  is  a  man,"  he  used  to  say,  "who 
must  continually  be  bought;  he  would  belong  to  any  one 
who  would  give  him  a  crown  more  than  I  do."  And  yet, 
strange  to  say,  notwithstanding  this  feeling,  Bonaparte  trusted 
him,  or  at  any  rate  believed  the  tales  he  brought.  He  knew, 
in  truth,  that  Savary  would  refuse  him  nothing,  and  he  would 
say  of  him  sometimes,  "  If  I  ordered  Savary  to  rid  himself 
of  his  wife  and  children,  I  am  sure  he  would  not  hesitate." 

Savary,  though  an  object  of  general  terror,  was,  in  spite 
of  his  mode  of  life  and  his  actions,  hidden  or  otherwise,  not 
radically  a  bad  man.  Love  of  money  was  his  ruling  passion. 
He  had  no  military  talent,  and  was  even  accused  by  his  brave 
comrades  of  being  wanting  in  courage  on  the  battle-field. 
He  had,  therefore,  to  build  up  his  fortune  in  a  different 
fashion  from  that  of  his  companions  in  arms.*  He  per- 
ceived a  way  open  to  him  in  the  system  of  cunning  and 
tale-bearing  which  Bonaparte  favored;  and,  having  once 
entered  on  it,  it  was  not  possible  for  him  to  retrace  his  steps. 
He  was,  intrinsically,  better  than  his  reputation ;  that  is,  his 
first  impulses  were  superior  to  his  subsequent  action.  He 
was  not  wanting  in  natural  ability ;  could  be  kindled  to  a 
momentary  enthusiasm  of  the  imagination ;  was  ignorant, 
but  with  a  desire  for  information,  and  had  an  instinctively 
right  judgment.  He  was  rather  a  liar  than  a  deceitful  man ; 
harsh  in  manner,  but  very  timid  in  reality.  He  had  reasons 
of  his  own  for  knowing  Bonaparte  and  trembling  before 
him.  Nevertheless,  while  he  was  Minister,  he  ventured  on 

*  During  the  campaign,  a  large  coffer  of  gold  was  intrusted  to  him,  to  meet 
the  charges  of  the  secret  police  which  he  conducted  for  the  Emperor,  both  in 
the  army  and  in  the  conquered  cities.  He  discharged  this  trust  with  great  skill. 
In  no  place  was  a  word  spoken  or  a  deed  done  of  which  he  was  not  informed. 


THE  TEE  ATT  OF  PEACE.  319 

some  show  of  opposition,  and  then  appeared  to  entertain  a 
certain  desire  to  gain  public  esteem.  He,  perhaps,  like 
many  others,  owed  the  development  of  his  views  to  the 
times  he  lived  in,  which  stifled  the  better  side  of  his  charac- 
ter. The  Emperor  sedulously  cultivated  evil  passions  in  the 
men  who  served  him,  and  they  flourished  abundantly  under 
his  reign. 

To  return.  M.  de  Talleyrand's  negotiations  were  slowly 
advancing.  In  spite  of  every  obstacle,  he  succeeded,  by 
means  of  correspondence,  in  persuading  the  Emperor  to 
make  peace;  and  the  Tyrol,  that  stumbling-block  of  the 
treaty,  was  ceded  by  the  Emperor  Francis  to  the  King  of 
Bavaria.  When,  a  few  years  afterward,  the  Emperor  had 
quarreled  with  M.  de  Talleyrand,  he  would  angrily  refer  to 
this  treaty,  and  complain  that  his  Minister  had  wrested  from 
him  the  fruit  of  victory,  and  brought  about  the  second  Aus- 
trian campaign  by  leaving  too  much  power  in  the  hands  of 
the  sovereign  of  that  country. 

The  Emperor  had  time,  before  leaving  Vienna,  to  receive 
a  deputation  from  four  of  the  mayors  of  the  city  of  Paris, 
who  came  to  congratulate  him  on  his  victories.  Shortly 
afterward  he  departed  for  Munich,  having  announced  that  he 
was  about  to  place  the  regal  crown  on  the  head  of  the  Elec- 
tor of  Bavaria,  and  to  conclude  the  marriage  of  Prince 
Eugene. 

The  Empress,  who  had  been  staying  at  Munich  for  some 
time,  was  overjoyed  at  a  union  which  would  ally  her  son 
with  the  greatest  houses  of  Europe.  She  greatly  wished  that 
Mme.  Louis  Bonaparte  should  be  present  at  the  ceremony ; 
but  the  request  met  with  an  obstinate  refusal  from  Louis, 
and,  as  usual,  his  wife  was  obliged  to  submit. 

The  Emperor,  who  also  wished  to  introduce  a  kinswoman 
to  the  Bavarians,  summoned.  Mme.  Murat  to  Munich.  She 
came  thither  with  mingled  feelings.  The  pleasure  of  being 
regarded  as  a  person  of  importance,  and  of  displaying  her- 
self, was  damped  by  the  elevation  of  the  Beauharnais  family; 
25 


320  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  KtiMUSAT. 

and  she  had  some  difficulty,  as  I  shall  presently  relate,  in 
concealing  her  dissatisfaction. 

M.  de  Talleyrand  returned  to  the  Court  after  signing  the 
treaty,  and  once  more  peace  seemed  restored  to  Europe — at 
any  rate,  for  a  time.  Peace  was  signed  on  Christmas  Day, 
1805. 

In  this  treaty  the  Emperor  of  Austria  recognized  the  Em- 
peror Napoleon  as  King  of  Italy.  He  ceded  the  Venetian 
States  to  the  kingdom  of  Italy.  He  recognized  the  Electors 
of  Bavaria  and  Wurtemburg  as  kings,  ceding  to  the  former 
several  principalities  and  the  Tyrol,  to  the  latter  a  number 
of  towns,  and  to  the  Elector  of  Baden  part  of  the  Brisgau. 

The  Emperor  Napoleon  undertook  to  obtain  the  princi- 
pality of  "Wurzburg  from  the  King  of  Bavaria  for  the  Arch- 
duke Ferdinand,  who  had  been  Grand  Duke  of  Tuscany. 
The  Yenetian  States  were  to  be  handed  over  within  a  fort- 
night. These  were  the  principal  conditions  of  the  treaty. 


CHAPTER  XVI. 

(1805-1806.) 

State  of  Paris  during  the  "War — Cambace'res — Le  Brun — Mme.  Louis  Bonaparte — 
Marriage  of  Eugene  de  Beauharnais— Bulletins  and  Proclamations— Admiration 
of  the  Emperor  for  the  Queen  of  Bavaria — Jealousy  of  the  Empress— M.  de  Nan- 

souty— Mme.  de .—Conquest  of  Naples— Position  and  Character  of  the 

Emperor. 

I  HAVE  already  described  the  dullness  and  depression  of 
Paris  during  this  campaign,  and  the  sufferings  of  every  class 
of  society  from  the  renewal  of  war.  Money  had  become 
still  more  scarce ;  in  fact,  it  attained  such  a  price  that,  being 
obliged  to  send  some  in  haste  to  my  husband,  I  had  to  pay 
ninety  francs  merely  for  obtaining  gold  for  a  thousand-franc 
bank-note.  Such  an  opportunity  of  spreading  and  increasing 
the  general  anxiety  was,  of  course,  turned  to  advantage  by 
the  malcontents.  Warned  by  former  experience,  and  alarmed 
by  the  imprudence  of  certain  utterances,  I  held  aloof  from 
every  one,  seeing  only  my  own  friends  and  persons  who  could 
not  involve  me  in  any  difficulty. 

When  the  Princes  or  Princesses  of  the  Imperial  family 
held  their  receptions,  I  went,  as  did  others,  to  pay  my  respects 
to  them,  and  also  to  the  Arch-Chancellor  Cambaceres,  who 
would  have  been  highly  displeased  at  any  neglect.  He  gave 
grand  dinners,  and  held  receptions  twice  a  week.  He  resided 
in  a  large  house  on  the  Carrousel,  which  has  since  been  con- 
verted into  the  Hotel  des  Cent  Suisses.*  At  seven  in  the 

*  This  hotel  was  pulled  down  in  the  reign  of  Louis  Philippe.— P.  R. 


322  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R&MU8AT. 

evening  a  line  of  carriages  would  generally  stretch  across  the 
Carrousel,  and  Cambaceres  would  note  its  length  from  his 
window  with  delight.  Some  time  was  occupied  in  getting 
into  the  courtyard  and  reaching  the  foot  of  the  staircase.  At 
the  door  of  the  first  reception-room  an  attendant  announced 
the  guest's  name  in  a  loud  voice ;  this  was  repeated  until  the 
presence-chamber  was  reached.  There  an  immense  crowd 
would  be  collected;  there  were  two  or  three  rows  of  wo- 
men ;  the  men  stood  close  together,  forming  a  sort  of  passage 
from  one  angle  of  the  room  to  the  opposite  corner.  Up 
and  down  this  walked  Cambaceres  with  great  gravity,  cov- 
ered with  decorations,  and  usually  wearing  all  his  orders 
and  diamonds;  on  his  head  an  enormous  powdered  wig. 
He  kept  on  making  civil  little  speeches  right  and  left. 
When  we  felt  quite  sure  he  had  seen  us,  especially  if  he  had 
spoken,  it  was  the  custom  to  retire,  and  thus  make  room  for 
others.  We  frequently  had  to  wait  a  long  time  for  our  car- 
riages, and  the  surest  way  to  be  agreeable  to  Cambaceres  was 
to  tell  him,  the  next  time,  of  the  inconvenience  caused  by  the 
numberless  vehicles  in  the  Place  all  crowding  toward  his 
house. 

Fewer  persons  went  to  the  receptions  of  the  Arch-Trea- 
surer Le  Brun,  who  seemed  to  attach  less  importance  to 
these  outward  observances,  and  lived  quietly.  But,  although 
he  had  not  the  foibles  of  his  colleague,  he  was  also  deficient 
in  some  of  his  qualities.  Cambaceres  was  a  kind-hearted 
man ;  he  received  petitions  graciously,  and,  if  he  promised 
to  support  them,  his  word  could  be  relied  on.  Le  Brun's 
only  care  was  to  amass  a  fortune,  which  became  considerable. 
He  was  a  selfish,  cunning  old  man,  who  never  did  any  good 
to  anybody. 

The  member  of  the  Imperial  family  whom  I  saw  most 
frequently  was  Mme.  Louis  Bonaparte.  People  came  to  her 
house  of  an  evening  to  hear  the  news. 

In  December,  1805,  a  report  having  been  spread  that  the 
English  were  likely  to  descend  on  the  Dutch  coast,  Louis 


LE  BRUN—MME.   LOUIS  BONAPARTE.  323 

Bonaparte  received  commands  to  travel  through  Holland, 
and  to  inspect  the  Army  of  the  North.  His  absence,  which 
gave  a  little  more  freedom  to  his  wife,  and  was  a  relief  to 
his  household,  who  held  him  in  awe  and  aversion,  enabled 
Mme.  Louis  to  pass  her  evenings  pleasantly.  Music  and 
drawing  at  a  large  table  in  the  center  of  the  salon  were  the 
chief  amusements.  Mme.  Louis  had  a  great  taste  for  the 
arts :  she  composed  charming  ballads ;  she  painted  well ;  she 
liked  the  society  of  artists.  Her  only  fault,  perhaps,  was  in 
not  maintaining  the  ceremonious  demeanor  in  her  house  de- 
manded by  the  rank  to  which  she  had  been  elevated.  She 
always  remained  on  intimate  terms  with  her  schoolfellows, 
and  with  the  young  married  women  who  habitually  visited 
her,  and  her  manners  retained  something  of  the  freedom  of 
those  school-days.  This  gave  rise  to  remark  and  censure.* 

After  a  long  silence  respecting  the  movements  of  the 
army,  which  produced  general  uneasiness,  Le  Brun,  aide-de- 
camp to  the  Emperor,  and  a  son  of  the  Arch-Treasurer,  was 
dispatched  from  the  battle-field  of  Austerlitz,  and  arrived 
one  evening  with  news  of  the  victory,  of  the  succeeding  ar- 
mistice, and  of  the  well-founded  hope  of  peace.  The  news 
was  announced  at  all  the  theatres,  and  posted  up  everywhere 

*  Mme.  de  Remusat's  feelings  toward  Queen  Hortense  and  her  opinion  of 
her  character  were  lasting;  for,  some  years  later,  on  July  12,  1812,  she  thus 
writes  to  her  husband : 

"  Speaking  of  the  Queen,  I  can  not  find  words  in  which  to  tell  you  the  plea- 
sure I  take  in  her  society.  She  is  really  angelic  in  disposition,  and  completely 

different  from  what  is  generally  supposed.  M.  F ,  who  when  he  came  was 

full  of  prejudice  against  her,  is  quite  captivated.  She  is  so  true,  so  pure- 
hearted,  so  perfectly  ignorant  of  evil ;  there  is  about  her  so  sweet  a  melancholy ; 
she  seemed  so  resigned  to  whatever  may  happen,  that  it  is  impossible  not  to  be 
deeply  impressed  by  her.  Her  health  is  good ;  she  dislikes  this  rainy  weather, 
because  she  is  fond  of  walking  ;  she  reads  a  great  deal,  and  would  like  to  make 
up  for  the  defects  of  her  education  in  certain  respects.  Her  children's  tutor 
makes  her  work  hard ;  sometimes  she  laughs  at  the  pains  she  takes,  and  she 
is  right.  Nevertheless,  I  wish  a  more  enlightened  person  were  directing  her 
studies.  She  has  reached  an  age  when  study  should  be  pursued  rather  to  teach 
us  to  think  than  to  know,  and  history  should  not  be  learned  at  five  and  twenty 
as  it  is  at  ten  years  old."— P.  R. 


324  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R&MU8AT. 

on  the  following  day.  It  produced  a  great  effect,  and  dis- 
pelled the  gloom  and  apathy  of  Paris. 

It  was  impossible  not  to  be  elated  by  so  great  a  success, 
and  not  to  take  the  side  of  glory  and  of  fortune.  The 
French  were  carried  away  by  the  description  of  the  victory, 
to  which  nothing  was  wanting,  since  it  terminated  the  war ; 
and  this  time  again  there  was  no  need  to  prescribe  public 
rejoicing :  the  nation  identified  itself  with  the  success  of  its 
army. 

I  look  upon  this  period  as  the  zenith  of  Bonaparte's  good 
fortune,  for  his  mighty  deeds  were  made  their  own  by  the 
bulk  of  his  people.  Afterward,  doubtless,  he  increased  in 
power  and  in  authority,  but  he  had  to  bespeak  enthusiasm, 
and,  though  he  sometimes  succeeded  in  enforcing  it,  the 
efforts  he  was  obliged  to  make  must  have  lessened  the  value 
of  the  applause. 

In  the  midst  of  the  pride  and  delight  displayed  by  the 
city  of  Paris,  it  may  well  be  believed  that  the  great  bodies 
of  the  State  and  the  public  officers  did  not  neglect  the  oppor- 
tunity of  expressing  the  general  admiration  in  high-flown 
language.  "When  we  now  read  the  speeches  delivered  on 
the  occasion  in  the  Senate  and  the  Tribunate,  the  orations  of 
prefects  and  mayors,  the  pastoral  letters  of  bishops,  one  won- 
ders if  it  be  possible  that  a  human  head  should  not  be  turned 
by  such  excess  of  praise.  Every  glory  of  the  past  was  to 
fade  before  that  of  Bonaparte ;  the  greatest  names  were  to 
drop  into  obscurity  ;  fame  would  thenceforth  blush  at  what 
she  had  formerly  proclaimed,  etc.,  etc. 

On  the  31st  of  December  the  Tribunate  was  assembled, 
and  Fabre  de  PAude,  the  President,  announced  the  return 
of  a  deputation  which  had  been  sent  to  the  Emperor.  Its 
members  had  brought  back  a  glowing  account  of  the  mar- 
vels they  had  witnessed.  A  great  number  of  flags  had  also 
arrived.  The  Emperor  bestowed  eight  on  the  city  of  Paris, 
eight  on  the  Tribunate,  and  fifty-four  on  the  Senate ;  the 
entire  Tribunate  was  to  present  the  latter. 


SCENE  IN  THE  TRIBUNATE.  325 

On  the  conclusion  of  the  President's  speech,  a  crowd  of 
tribunes  rushed  forward  to  propose  what  was  called  des  mo- 
tions de  vceux.  One  of  them  moved  that  a  gold  medal  should 
be  struck ;  another,  that  a  public  monument  should  be  erect- 
ed ;  that  the  Emperor  should  receive  the  honors  of  a  triumph, 
after  the  old  fashion  of  imperial  Rome ;  that  the  whole  city 
of  Paris  should  go  forth  to  meet  him.  "Language,"  said 
one  member,  "  can  not  attain  such  height  of  grandeur,  nor 
express  the  emotions  it  calls  forth." 

Carrion-Nisas  proposed  that,  on  the  proclamation  of  the 
general  peace,  the  sword  worn  by  the  Emperor  at  the  battle 
of  Austerlitz  should  be  solemnly  consecrated.  Each  speaker 
endeavored  to  surpass  the  others,  and  certainly,  during  this 
sitting,  which  lasted  several  hours,  all  that  flattery  could  sug- 
gest to  the  imagination  was  exhausted.  And  yet  this  very 
Tribunate  was  a  source  of  anxiety  to  the  Emperor,  because 
it  contained  in  itself  a  semblance  of  liberty ;  and  he  subse- 
quently abolished  it  in  order  to  consolidate  his  despotic 
power,  even  in  the  smallest  outward  signs.  When  Bona- 
parte "  eliminated "  the  Tribunate  (this  was  the  technical 
expression  for  that  measure),  he  did  not  shrink  from  using 
these  words :  "  This  is  my  final  break  with  the  Republic." 

The  Tribunate,  having  arranged  to  carry  the  flags  to  the 
Senate  on  the  1st  of  January,  1806,  decided  that  on  the  same 
occasion  it  should  be  proposed  to  erect  a  column.  The  Sen- 
ate hastened  to  pass  a  decree  to  this  effect,  and  also  decreed 
that  the  Emperor's  letter,  which  had  accompanied  the  flags, 
should  be  engraved  on  marble  and  placed  in  the  Hall  of  As- 
sembly. The  senators  on  this  occasion  rose  to  the  height  at- 
tained by  the  tribunes. 

Preparations  were  now  made  for  the  rejoicings  which 
were  to  take  place  on  the  return  of  the  Emperor.  M.  de 
Remusat  sent  orders,  through  me,  for  the  performance  of 
various  pieces  containing  appropriate  passages  at  the  theatres. 
The  Theatre  Frangais  having  selected  "  Gaston  et  Bayard," 
some  slight  changes  were  made  by  the  police  in  certain  lines 


326,  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  RASMUS  AT. 

that  were  deemed  inadmissible.*  The  Opera  House  pre- 
pared a  new  piece. 

Meanwhile  the  Emperor,  after  receiving  the  signature  of 
the  peace,  was  preparing  to  quit  Vienna,  and  addressed  its 
inhabitants  in  a  proclamation  full  of  compliments,  both  to 
themselves  and  to  their  sovereign.  It  ended  thus  : 

"  I  have  shown  myself  little  among  you,  not  from  disdain 
or  a  vain  pride,  but  I  did  not  wish  to  interfere  with  the  feel- 
ings due  to  your  sovereign,  with  whom  it  was  my  intention 
to  make  a  prompt  peace." 

We  have  already  seen  what  were  the  Emperor's  real  mo- 
tives for  remaining  in  retirement  at  Schonbrunn. 

Although,  in  point  of  fact,  the  French  army  had  been 
kept  under  tolerable  discipline  while  in  Yienna,  there  can  be 
no  doubt  that  the  inhabitants  were  overjoyed  at  the  depar- 
ture of  the  guests  they  had  been  obliged  to  receive,  to  lodge, 
and  to  feed  liberally.  To  give  an  idea  of  the  consideration 
with  which  our  vanquished  enemies  were  forced  to  treat  us, 
it  will  be  sufficient  to  state  that  Generals  Junot  f  and  Bes- 
sieres,  who  were  quartered  on  Prince  Esterhazy,  were  daily 
supplied  from  Hungary  with  every  delicacy  of  the  table, 
including  Tokay.  This  was  due  to  the  generosity  of  the 
Prince,  who  defrayed  the  whole  cost. 

I  recollect  hearing  M.  de  Remusat  relate  that,  on  the  ar- 
rival of  the  Emperor  at  Yienna,  the  Imperial  cellars  were 
explored  in  search  of  this  same  Tokay,  and  much  surprise 
was  expressed  that  not  a  single  bottle  was  forthcoming ;  all 
had  been  carefully  removed  by  the  orders  of  Francis. 

The  Emperor  reached  Munich  on  the  31st  of  December, 

*  The  line  "Et  suivre  les  Bourbons,  c'est  marcher  a  la  gloire"  (To  follow 
the  Bourbons  is  to  march  to  glory),  was  replaced  by  "  Et  suivre  les  Frangais, 
c'est  marcher  a  la  gloire"  (To  follow  the  French  is  to  march  to  glory). 

f  Junot  was  a  true  soldier  of  fortune.  He  had  a  good  deal  of  natural 
humor.  On  one  occasion  the  exclusiveness  of  the  old  French  nobility  was 
spoken  of  before  him.  "  And  why,"  said  he,  "  are  all  these  people  so  angered 
at  our  elevation  ?  The  only  difference  between  them  and  me  is  that  they  are 
descendants,  while  I  am  an  ancestor ! " 


BULLETINS  AND  PROCLAMATIONS.  327 

and  on  the  next  day  proclaimed  the  Elector  of  Bavaria  King. 
He  announced  this  in  a  letter  to  the  Senate,  in  which  he  also 
made  known  his  adoption  of  Prince  Eugene,  and  the  mar- 
riage of  the  latter,  which  was  to  take  place  before  the  Em- 
peror's return  to  Paris. 

Prince  Eugene  hastened  to  Munich,  having  first  taken 
possession  of  the  States  of  Venice,  and  reassured  his  new 
subjects,  as  far  as  possible,  by  dignified  and  moderate  proc- 
lamations. 

The  Emperor  felt  himself  bound  also  to  bestow  some 
praise  on  the  army  of  Italy.  A  bulletin  says :  "  The  Italians 
have  displayed  great  spirit.  The  Emperor  has  frequently 
said :  '  Why  should  not  my  Italian  people  appear  gloriously 
on  the  world's  stage  ?  They  are  full  of  intelligence  and  pas- 
sion ;  it  will  be  easy  henceforth  to  give  them  soldierly  quali- 
ties.' ':  He  made  a  few  more  proclamations  to  his  army,  in 
his  usual  turgid  style,  but  they  are  said  to  have  produced  a 
great  effect  on  the  army. 

He  issued  one  decree  which  would  have  been  good  if  it 
had  been  put  into  execution.  "We  adopt,"  he  said,  "the 
children  of  those  generals,  officers,  and  privates  who  lost 
their  lives  at  the  battle  of  Austerlitz.  They  shall  be  brought 
up  at  Rambouillet  and  at  St.  Germain,  and  placed  out*  in  the 
world,  or  suitably  married  by  our  care.  To  their  own  names 
they  shall  add  that  of  Napoleon." 

The  Elector,  or  rather  the  King,  of  Bavaria  is  a  younger 
son  of  the  house  of  Deux-Ponts,  who  came  to  the  Electorate 
through  the  extinction  of  that  branch  of  his  family  which 
was  governing  Bavaria.  In  the  reign  of  Louis  XVI.  he  was 
sent  to  France  a  ad  placed  in  the  King's  service.  He  soon 
obtained  a  regiment,  and  resided  for  a  considerable  time*  either 
in  Paris  or  in  garrison  at  one  of  our  towns.  He  became 
attached  to  France,  and  left  behind  him  the  recollection  of 
much  kindness  of  disposition  and  cordiality  of  manner.  He 
was  known  as  Prince  Max.  He  declined,  however,  to  marry 
in  France.  The  Prince  de  Conde  offered  him  his  daughter ; 


328  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  E^MUSAT. 

but  his  father  and  his  uncle,  the  Elector,  objected  to  the 
match  on  the  grounds  that  Prince  Max,  not  being  rich, 
would  probably  have  to  make  canonesses  of  some  of  his 
daughters,  and  that  the  admixture  in  their  veins  of  the  blood 
of  Louis  XIY.  with  that  of  Mme.  de  Montespan  would  be 
an  obstacle  to  their  admittance  into  certain  chapters. 

When,  at  a  later  period,  this  Prince  succeeded  to  the 
Electorate,  he  always  retained  an  affectionate  remembrance 
of  France,  and  a  sincere  attachment  to  her  people.  Having 
become  King  by  the  will  of  the  Emperor,  he  took  pains  to 
prove  his  gratitude  by  a  splendid  welcome,  and  he  received 
all  the  French  with  extreme  kindness.  It  may  well  be  im- 
agined that  not  for  one  moment  did  he  dream  of  declining 
the  proposed  marriage  for  his  daughter.  The  young  Prin- 
cess was  tllen  seventeen  or  eighteen  years  of  age,  and  pos- 
sessed attractive  qualities,  as  well  as  personal  charms.  The 
marriage,  which  was  due  to  political  reasons,  became  the 
source  of  uninterrupted  happiness  to  Eugene.  Princess 
Augusta  of  Bavaria  attached  herself  warmly  to  the  husband 
chosen  for  her ;  she  aided  him  in  no  small  measure  to  win 
the  hearts  of  the  Italians.  With  beauty,  sense,  piety,  and 
amiability,  she  could  not  fail  to  be  tenderly  beloved  by  Prince 
Eugene,  and  at  the  present  day  they  are  settled  in  Bavaria, 
and  enjoy  the  happiness  of  a  perfect  union.* 

*  Prince  Eugene  de  Beauharnais  died  in  1824.  The  Emperor  announced 
his  marriage  to  him  in  the  following  terms,  in  a  letter  dated  Munich,  19  Nivose, 
year  14  (31st  December,  1805):  "My  cousin,  I  have  arrived  at  Munich.  I  have 
arranged  a  marriage  for  you  with  Princess  Augusta.  It  has  been  announced. 
The  Princess  paid  me  a  visit  this  morning,  and  I  conversed  with  her  for  a  con- 
siderable time.  She  is  very  pretty.  You  will  see  her  portrait  on  the  tazza  which 
accompanies  this,  but  she  is  much  better-looking."  The  Emperor's  affection  for 
the  Viceroy  of  Italy  was  extended  in  full  measure  to  the  Princess,  who  from  the 
first  had  impressed  him  so  favorably,  and  his  letters  are  full  of  solicitude  for  her 
health  and  happiness.  Thus,  he  writes  to  her  from  Stuttgart,  on  the  17th  of 
January,  1806:  "My  daughter,  your  letter  to  me  is  as  charming  as  yourself. 
My  feelings  of  affection  for  you  will  but  increase  every  day ;  I  know  this  by  the 
pleasure  I  feel  in  recalling  all  your  good  qualities,  and  by  my  desire  to  receive 
frequent  assurances  from  yourself  that  you  are  pleased  with  everybody  and 


THE  EMPEROR  AND  THE  QUEEN  OF  BAVARIA.  329 

During  the  Emperor's  stay  at  Munich,  he  took  it  into  his 
head,  by  way  of  recreation  after  his  labors  of  the  past  months, 
to  indulge  a  fancy,  partly  political,  partly  amorous,  for  the 
Queen  of  Bavaria.  That  Princess,  who  was  the  King's  sec- 
ond wife,  without  being  very  beautiful,  was  of  an  elegant 
figure  and  pleasing  though  dignified  manners.  I  think  the 
Emperor  pretended  to  be  in  love  with  her.  The  lookers-on 
said  it  was  amusing  to  watch  the  struggle  between  his  impe- 
rious temper  and  rude  manners  and  the  desire  to  please  a 
Princess  accustomed  to  that  kind  of  etiquette  which  is  never 
relaxed  in  Germany  on  any  occasion  whatever.  The  Queen 
of  Bavaria  contrived  to  exact  respect  from  her  strange  ad- 
mirer, and  yet  seemed  to  be  amused  with  his  devotion.  The 

happy  in  your  husband.  Among  all  my  other  cares,  there  will  be  none  dearer 
to  me  than  those  which  may  insure  the  happiness  of  my  children.  Believe  me, 
Augusta,  I  love  you  as  a  father,  and  I  rely  on  your  filial  tenderness.  Take  care 
of  yourself  on  your  journey,  and  also  in  the  new  climate  to  which  you  are  travel- 
ing, by  taking  all  necessary  rest.  You  have  had  much  to  try  you  for  a  month 
past.  Remember  that  I  must  not  have  you  ill." 

A  few  months  later  he  writes  to  Prince  Eugene :  "  My  son,  you  work  too 
hard ;  your  life  is  too  monotonous.  It  is  good  for  you,  because  your  work  should 
be  your  recreation ;  but  you  have  a  young  wife,  who  is  just  now  in  a  delicate 
state.  I  think  you  should  contrive  to  pass  your  evenings  with  her,  and  to  gather 
some  society  round  you.  Why  don't  you  go  to  the  theatre  once  a  week  in  a 
state  box  ?  I  think  you  should  have  also  a  small  hunting  establishment,  and 
hunt  at  least  once  a  week ;  I  would  willingly  devote  a  grant  to  this  object. 
There  must  be  more  gayety  in  your  house ;  it  is  necessary  for  your  wife's  happi- 
ness and  your  own  health.  A  great  deal  of  work  can  be  got  through  in  a  short 
tune.  I  am  leading  the  life  that  you  lead,  but  I  have  an  old  wife  who  does  not 
need  me  for  her  amusements ;  I  have  also  more  work  than  you,  yet  I  can  say 
truly  I  take  more  pleasure  and  diversion  than  you  do.  A  young  wife  requires 
amusement,  especially  when  in  the  state  of  health  she  now  is.  You  liked  plea- 
sure pretty  well  in  former  times ;  you  must  return  to  it.  What  you  might  not 
choose  to  do  for  yourself,  you  must  do  out  of  duty  toward  the  Princess.  I  have 
just  established  myself  at  Saint  Cloud.  Stephanie  and  the  Prince  of  Baden  get 
on  pretty  well  together.  I  spent  the  last  two  days  at  Marshal  Bessieres's ;  we 
behaved  like  lads  of  fifteen.  You  were  formerly  in  the  habit  of  rising  early ; 
you  should  return  to  that  custom.  This  would  not  disturb  the  Princess,  if  you 
retired  to  rest  with  her  at  eleven  o'clock ;  and,  by  leaving  off  work  at  six  in  the 
evening,  you  would  still  have  had  ten  hours  for  work,  if  you  rise  at  seven  or 
eight  o'clock."— P.  R. 


330  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  RtiMUSAT. 

Empress  considered  her  to  be  more  coquettish  than  was  de- 
sirable, and  the  whole  business  made  her  anxious  to  get  away 
quickly  from  the  Bavarian  Court,  and  spoilt  the  pleasure  she 
would  otherwise  have  felt  in  her  son's  marriage. 

At  the  same  time,  Mme.  Murat  took  offense  because  the 
new  Yice-Queen,  who  had  become  the  adopted  daughter  of 
Napoleon,  took  precedence  of  her  on  ceremonial  occasions. 
She  feigned  illness  in  order  to  avoid  what  seemed  to  her  an 
affront,  and  her  brother  was  obliged  to  get  into  a  rage  with 
her,  to  prevent  her  from  too  plainly  exhibiting  her  discontent. 
Had  we  not  actually  witnessed  the  rapid  rise  of  certain  pre- 
tensions in  those  who  are  the  favorites  of  fortune,  we  should 
have  been  astonished  at  these  sudden  bursts  of  temper  in 
princes  of  so  recent  a  date  that  they  could  scarcely  yet  have 
become  accustomed  to  the  advantages  and  rights  appertain- 
ing to  their  rank.  This  spectacle  we  have,  however,  beheld 
so  frequently  that  we  are  not  surprised,  but  merely  admit 
that  no  human  passion  is  so  easily  aroused,  or  grows  so  rap- 
idly, as  vanity. 

Bonaparte  had  always  been  well  aware  of  this,  and  he 
used  the  knowledge  as  his  surest  method  of  governing. 
"While  at  Munich,  he  made  many  promotions  in  the  army. 
He  gave  a  regiment  of  Carbineers  to  his  brother-in-law, 
Prince  Borghese.  He  rewarded  several  officers  by  promo- 
tion, or  by  the  Legion  of  Honor.  Among  others,  he  created 
M.  de  Nansouty,  my  brother-in-law,  grand  officer  of  the 
order.  He  was  a  brave  man,  esteemed  in  the  army,  straight- 
forward, and  endowed  with  a  keen  sense  of  duty,  not  very 
common,  unfortunately,  among  our  military  chiefs.  He  left 
behind  him  in  a  foreign  country  a  reputation  which  is  very 
honorable  to  his  family.* 

The  Emperor's  military  Court,  encouraged  by  their  mas- 
ter's example,  and,  like  him,  flushed  with  victory,  took  great 

*  On  the  occasion  of  the  first  return  of  the  King,  his  Majesty  gave  M.  de 
Nansouty  the  command  of  a  company  of  Gray  Musketeers.  He  fell  ill  shortly 
afterward,  and  died  one  month  before  the  20th  of  March,  1815. 


MME.  DE  C .  331 

pleasure  in  the  society  of  the  ladies  who  had  accompanied 
the  Empress.  It  seemed  as  if  Love  was  now  to  have  his 
share  of  power  in  a  world  which  had  hitherto  somewhat 
neglected  him ;  but  it  must  be  admitted  that  not  much  time 
was  allowed  to  him  for  the  establishment  of  his  reign,  and 
his  attacks  were  of  necessity  rather  brisk. 

"We  may  date  from  this  period  the  passion  which  the 

beautiful  Mme.  de  C inspired  in  M.  de  Caulaincourt. 

She  had  been  appointed  Lady-in-Waiting  in  the  summer  of 
1805.  When  quite  young  she  had  married  her  cousin,  who 
was  at  that  time  equerry  to  the  Emperor,  and  she  drew  all 
eyes  on  herself  by  her  striking  beauty.  M.  de  Caulaincourt 
fell  desperately  in  love  with  her,  and  this  feeling,  which  was 
for  several  years  more  or  less  reciprocal,  deterred  him  from 

thinking  of  marriage.  Mme.  de  C became  more  and 

more  estranged  from  her  husband,  and  at  last  took  advantage 
of  the  law  of  divorce.*  When  the  return  of  the  King  con- 
demned M.  de  Caulaincourt,  otherwise  the  Duke  of  Yicenza, 
to  a  life  of  obscurity,  she  resolved  to  share  his  ill  fortune, 
and  married  him. 

I  have  already  said  that  the  Emperor  announced  during 
this  campaign  his  consent  to  the  evacuation  of  the  kingdom 
of  Naples  by  our  troops ;  but  before  long  he  again  quarreled 
with  the  sovereign  of  that  kingdom,  either  because  the  King 
did  not  exactly  carry  out  the  treaty  that  had  been  concluded 
with  him,  and  was  too  much  under  the  influence  of  the  Eng- 
lish, who  were  continually  threatening  his  ports,  or  because 
the  Emperor  wished  to  accomplish  his  project  of  subjecting 
the  whole  of  Italy  to  his  own  authority.  He  also  thought, 
no  doubt,  that  it  would  be  his  best  policy  to  eject  the  house 
of  Bourbon  by  degrees  from  the  thrones  of  the  Continent. 
Be  this  as  it  may,  according  to  custom,  and  without  any  pre- 
vious communication,  France  learned  by  an  order  of  the  day, 

*  The  Duchess  of  Vicenza  died  at  a  very  advanced  age  in  1878,  leaving  be- 
hind her  the  memory  of  an  excellent  and  distinguished  woman.  M.  de  Caulain- 
oourt  had  died  fifty  years  earlier,  in  1828.— P.  R. 


332  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R^MUSAT. 

dated  from  the  Imperial  camp  at  Schonbrunn,  6th  Nivose, 
year  14,*  that  the  French  army  was  marching  to  the  con- 
quest of  the  kingdom  of  Naples,  and  would  be  under  the 
command  of  Joseph  Bonaparte,  who  accordingly  repaired 
thither. 

"  We  will  pardon  no  longer,"  so  runs  the  proclamation. 
"  The  dynasty  of  Naples  has  ceased  to  reign.  Its  existence 
is  incompatible  with  the  repose  of  Europe  and  the  honor  of 
my  crown.  Soldiers,  forward!  .  .  .  and  delay  not  to  tell 
me  that  all  Italy  is  subject  to  my  laws  or  those  of  my 

allies."  f 

It  is  in  this  summary  tone  that  Bonaparte,  fresh  from 
signing  treaties  of  peace,  began  another  war,  gave  new  of- 

*  27th  of  December,  1805.— P.  R. 

f  The  following  is  the  proclamation,  which  is  to  the  effect  indicated  by  the 
Memoirs,  but  in  still  rougher  language : 

"  Soldiers !  for  ten  years  I  have  done  all  I  could  to  save  the  King  of  Naples ; 
he  has  done  everything  to  ruin  himself.  After  the  battles  of  Dego,  of  Mondovi, 
and  of  Lodi,  he  could  offer  me  but  feeble  resistance.  I  trusted  to  his  word,  and 
I  was  generous  toward  him. 

"  When  the  second  coalition  was  dissolved  at  Marengo,  the  King  of  Naples, 
who  had  been  the  first  to  declare  this  unjust  war,  was  abandoned  at  Luneville  by 
his  allies,  and  remained  alone  and  defenseless.  He  appealed  to  me ;  for  the 
second  time  I  forgave  him.  But  a  few  months  ago  you  were  at  the  gates  of 
Naples.  I  had  sufficient  reasons  for  suspecting  the  treason  that  was  in  prepa- 
ration, and  for  avenging  the  insults  that  had  been  offered  me.  Once  more  I 
acted  generously.  I  recognized  the  neutrality  of  Naples;  I  ordered  you  to 
evacuate  the  kingdom ;  and  for  a  third  time  the  house  of  Naples  was  strength- 
ened and  saved. 

"Shall  we  forgive  a  fourth  time?  Shall  we  rely  a  fourth  time  on  a  Court 
without  faith,  without  honor,  without  sense  ?  No,  no !  The  dynasty  of  Naples 
has  ceased  to  reign.  Its  existence  is  incompatible  with  the  repose  of  Europe 
and  the  honor  of  my  crown. 

"  Forward,  soldiers !  Cast  into  the  ocean,  if  indeed  they  wait  your  arrival, 
the  weakly  battalions  of  the  tyrants  of  the  seas.  Show  forth  to  the  world  how 
we  punish  perjury.  Make  no  delay  in  informing  me  that  all  Italy  is  under  my 
laws,  or  those  of  my  allies ;  that  the  most  beautiful  country  on  earth  is  free 
from  the  yoke  of  perfidious  men ;  that  the  sanctity  of  treaties  is  avenged ;  and 
that  the  manes  of  my  brave  soldiers,  who  were  massacred  in  Sicilian  ports  on 
their  return  from  Egypt,  after  they  had  escaped  the  dangers  of  shipwreck,  of 
deserts,  and  of  battle,  are  at  last  appeased." — P.  R. 


CONQUEST  OF  NAPLES.  333 

fense  to  the  sovereigns  of  Europe,  and  incited  the  English 
Government  to  stir  up  fresh  enemies  against  himself. 

On  the  25th  of  January  the  Court  of  Naples,  under  the 
pressure  of  a  skillful  and  victorious  enemy,  embarked  for 
Palermo,  abandoning  the  capital  to  its  new  sovereign,  who 
would  soon  take  possession  of  it.  Meanwhile  the  Emperor, 
having  been  present  at  the  marriage  of  Prince  Eugene  on 
the  14th  of  January,  left  Munich,  and,  having  received  on 
his  way  through  Germany  the  honors  that  were  invariably 
offered  him  in  every  place,  reached  Paris  on  the  night  of 
the  26th  to  the  27th  of  January. 

I  have  thought  it  well  to  conclude  here  the  history  of 
what  was  to  me  Bonaparte's  second  epoch,  because,  as  I  said 
before,  I  look  upon  the  close  of  this  first  campaign  as  the 
highest  pitch  of  his  glory;  and  for  this  reason,  that  now 
the  French  people  again  consented  to  bear  their  share  in  it. 

Nothing,  perhaps,  in  the  history  of  circumstances  and  of 
men,  can  be  compared  to  the  height  of  power  to  which  he 
attained  after  the  peace  of  Tilsit ;  but,  if  at  that  time  all 
Europe  bent  before  him,  the  spell  of  victory  had  been 
strangely  weakened  in  France,  and  our  armies,  although 
consisting  of  our  own  citizens,  were  beginning  to  be  aliens 
to  us. 

The  Emperor,  who  often  appreciated  things  with  mathe- 
matical accuracy,  was  well  aware  of  this ;  for,  on  his  return 
from  concluding  the  above  treaty,  I  heard  him  say,  "  Mili- 
tary glory,  which  lasts  so  long  in  history,  is  that  which  fades 
the  quickest  among  its  contemporaries.  All  our  recent  bat- 
tles have  not  produced  in  France  half  the  effect  of  the  one 
victory  of  Marengo." 

Had  he  carried  his  reflections  further,  he  would  have  seen 
that  the  people  who  are  governed  need  eventually  a  glory 
that  will  be  of  solid  use,  and  that  admiration  for  that  which 
bears  but  a  barren  brilliancy  is  soon  exhausted. 

In  1806  England  was  again  accused,  rightly  or  wrongly, 
of  inciting  enmity  against  us.  Supposing  her  to  be  with 


334  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R&MUSAT. 

justice  jealous  of  our  returning  prosperity,  we  did  not  think 
it  impossible  that  she  might  endeavor  to  molest  us,  even  if 
we  had  in  perfect  good  faith  shown  every  sign  of  intended 
moderation.  We  did  not  think  the  Emperor  had  been  the 
cause  of  the  last  rupture  which  had  destroyed  the  treaty  of 
Amiens ;  and,  as  it  seemed  impossible  for  a  long  time  to 
come  to  compete  with  the  naval  power  of  the  English,  it 
did  not  appear  to  us  to  be  politically  wrong  to  endeavor  to 
balance  the  weight  which  commerce  gave  to  our  enemies  by 
the  constitution  given  to  Italy — that  is,  by  a  powerful  influ- 
ence on  the  Continent. 

With  such  feelings  as  these,  the  marvels  of  this  three 
months'  campaign  could  not  fail  to  impress  us  deeply.  Aus- 
tria had  been  conquered ;  the  united  armies  of  the  two 
greatest  sovereigns  of  Europe  had  fled  before  ours ;  the 
Czar  had  retreated ;  the  Emperor  Francis  had  personally 
sued  for  peace — a  peace  as  yet  bearing  signs  of  moderation  ; 
kings  had  been  created  by  our  victories  ;  the  daughter  of  a 
crowned  sovereign  had  been  given  in  marriage  to  a  mere 
French  gentleman ;  finally,  the  prompt  return  of  the  con- 
queror, which  gave  hopes  of  permanent  peace,  and  perhaps 
also  a  desire  to  retain  our  illusions  respecting  our  master — a 
desire  inspired  by  human  vanity,  for  men  do  not  like  to 
blush  for  him  by  whom  they  are  ruled — all  these  things 
again  roused  national  admiration,  and  were  only  too  favor- 
able to  the  ambition  of  the  victor.  The  Emperor  perceived 
the  progress  he  had  made  in  popularity,  and  he  concluded, 
with  some  appearance  of  probability,  that  glory  would  make 
up  to  us  for  all  the  losses  we  were  about  to  sustain  at  the 
hands  of  despotism.  He  believed  that  Frenchmen  would 
not  murmur  were  but  their  slavery  brilliant,  and  that  we 
would  willingly  barter  all  the  liberty  that  the  Revolution 
had  so  hardly  won  for  us,  for  his  dazzling  military  success. 

Finally,  and  this  was  the  worst,  he  saw  in  war  a  means 
of  stifling  the  reflections  which  his  mode  of  government  was 
sure  sooner  or  later  to  evoke,  and  he  reserved  it  to  dazzle  us, 


POSITION  AND   CHARACTER   OF  THE  EMPEROR.  335 

or  at  least  to  reduce  us  to  silence.  As  he  felt  himself  per- 
fectly master  of  the  science  of  war,  he  had  no  fear  of  its  re- 
sults ;  and,  when  he  could  engage  in  it  with  such  immense 
armies  and  such  formidable  artillery,  he  felt  there  was  scarce- 
ly any  danger  to  himself.  Although  in  this  I  may  be  mis- 
taken, I  do  believe  that,  after  the  campaign  of  Austerlitz, 
war  was  rather  the  result  of  his  system  than  the  gratifica- 
tion of  his  taste.  The  first,  the  real  ambition  of  Napoleon 
was  for  power,  and  he  would  have  preferred  peace  if  it  could 
have  increased  his  authority.  There  is  a  tendency  in  the 
human  mind  to  bring  to  perfection  anything  with  which  it 
is  exclusively  occupied.  The  Emperor,  who  was  continually- 
bent  on  increasing  his  power  by  every  possible  means,  and 
who  was  becoming  accustomed  to  the  exercise  of  his  own  will 
on  every  occasion,  became  more  and  more  impatient  of  the 
slightest  opposition.  The  European  phalanxes  were  gradu- 
ally giving  way  before  him,  and  he  began  to  believe  that  he 
was  destined  to  regulate  the  affairs  of  every  continental  king- 
dom. He  looked  with  disdain  on  the  progress  of  the  age, 
regarding  the  French  Revolution,  which  was  so  solemn  a 
warning  to  sovereigns,  only  as  an  event  whose  results  he 
might  use  to  his  own  advantage ;  and  he  came  to  despise  the 
cry  for  liberty  which  for  twenty  years  had  been  uttered  at 
intervals  by  the  people.  He  was  persuaded  that  he  could,  at 
any  rate,  trick  them  by  accomplishing  the  destruction  of  what 
had  existed,  and  replacing  it  by  sudden  creations,  which  would 
appear  to  satisfy  that  longing  for  equality  which  he  believed 
with  reason  to  be  the  ruling  passion  of  the  time. 

He  tried  to  turn  the  French  Revolution  into  a  mere  freak 
of  fortune,  a  useless  disturbance  which  had  merely  upset  in- 
dividuals. How  often  has  he  not  made  use  of  these  specious 
words,  in  order  to  allay  apprehension  :  "  The  French  Revo- 
lution need  fear  nothing,  since  the  throne  of  the  Bourbons 
is  occupied  by  a  soldier  "  !  And  at  the  same  time  he  would 
assume  toward  kings  the  attitude  of  a  protector  of  thrones — 
"  for,"  he  would  say,  "  I  have  abolished  republics."  Mean- 
26 


336  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE 

while  he  was  dreaming  of  I  know  not  what  half -feudal  pro- 
ject, the  execution  of  which  must  inevitably  be  full  of  danger, 
since  it  drove  him  to  war,  and  had  besides  the  deplorable 
effect  of  diminishing  the  interest  he  ought  to  have  taken  in 
France  itself.  Our  country  soon  ceased  to  be  anything  more 
to  him  than  one  large  province  of  that  empire  which  he  de- 
sired to  bring  under  his  rule.  Less  interested  in  our  pros- 
perity than  in  our  grandeur,  which,  in  point  of  fact,  was  only 
his  own,  he  conceived  the  idea  of  making  every  foreign  sov- 
ereign a  feudatory  of  his  own  power.  He  believed  he  should 
attain  to  this  by  placing  members  of  his  family  on  the  various 
thrones  which  at  the  time  actually  sprang  from  himself  ;  and 
we  may  assure  ourselves  that  this  was  really  his  project,  by 
attentively  reading  the  form  of  oath  which  he  exacted  from 
the  kings  or  princes  created  by  him.  He  sometimes  said : 
"  It  is  my  intention  to  reach  such  a  point  that  the  kings  of 
Europe  shall  be  forced,  each  one  of  them,  to  have  a  palace  in 
Paris ;  and,  at  the  time  of  the  coronation  of  an  Emperor  of 
the  French,  they  shall  take  up  their  residence  in  it,  be  present 
at  the  ceremony,  and  render  it  more  imposing  by  their  hom- 
age." This,  it  seems  to  me,  was  a  sufficiently  plain  decla- 
ration of  his  intention  of  renewing  in  1806  the  empire  of 
Charlemagne. 

But  times  were  changed,  and,  as  the  light  of  knowledge 
spread,  the  people  became  capable  of  forming  a  judgment  as 
to  the  mode  in  which  they  ought  to  be  governed.  Besides 
this,  the  Emperor  perceived  that  the  nobles  could  never  again 
exercise  influence  over  the  people,  which  had  often  been  an 
obstacle  to  the  authority  of  our  kings  ;  and  he  conceived  the 
idea  that  it  was  from  popular  encroachment  he  must  defend 
himself,  and  that  the  spirit  of  the  age  required  him  to  take  a 
contrary  course  to  that  which  for  centuries  past  had  been  the 
custom  of  kings. 

It  was  the  fact  that,  whereas  formerly  the  nobles  had  al- 
most always  hampered  the  royal  authority,  at  the  present 
time  some  intermediary  creation  was  needed  by  that  very 


POSITION  AND   CHARACTER   OF  THE  EMPEROR.   337 

authority,  which,  in  this  age  of  liberal  opinions,  would  natu- 
rally lean  to  the  side  of  the  sovereign,  and  retard  the  march 
of  pretensions  which,  from  being  merely  popular,  had  now 
become  national.  From  this  came  the  reestablishment  of  a 
nobility,  and  the  renewal  of  certain  privileges  which  were 
always  prudently  distributed  among  distinguished  members 
of  the  ancient  nobility,  and  plebeians  who  had  been  ennobled 
by  an  act  of  the  Imperial  will. 

All  these  things  are  a  proof  that  the  Emperor  entertained 
this  project  of  a  new  kind  of  feudality  fashioned  in  accord- 
ance with  his  own  ideas.  But,  besides  the  obstacles  which 
England  continually  placed  in  his  way,  there  was  another, 
absolutely  inherent  in  his  own  character.  There  would  seem 
to  have  been  in  him  two  different  men.  The  one,  rather 
gigantic  than  great,  but  nevertheless  prompt  to  conceive  and 
also  prompt  to  execute,  laid  from  time  to  time  some  of  the 
foundations  of  the  plan  he  had  formed.  This  man,  actuated 
by  one  single  idea,  untouched  by  any  secondary  impression 
likely  to  interfere  with  his  projects,  had  he  but  taken  for  his 
aim  the  good  of  mankind,  would,  with  such  abilities  as  he 
displayed,  have  become  the  one  greatest  man  of  the  earth ; 
even  now  he  remains,  through  his  perspicacity  and  his 
strength  of  will,  the  most  extraordinary. 

The  other  Bonaparte,  forming  a  kind  of  uneasy  con- 
science to  the  first,  was  devoured  by  anxiety,  agitated  by 
continual  suspicion,  a  slave  to  passions  which  gave  him  no 
rest,  distrustful,  fearing  every  rival  greatness,  even  that 
which  he  had  himself  created.  If  the  necessity  of  political 
institutions  was  made  plain  to  him,  he  was  struck  at  the  same 
moment  by  the  rights  which  they  must  confer  on  individuals, 
and  then,  gradually  becoming  afraid  of  his  own  handiwork, 
lie  could  not  resist  the  temptation  to  destroy  it  piecemeal. 
He  has  been  heard  to  say.  after  he  had  restored  titles  of  no- 

V     ' 

bility  and  given  inalienable  possessions  *  to  his  marshals  :  "  I 
have  made  these  people  independent ;  but  I  shall  know  how  to 

*  Majorats. 


338  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  LE  R&MUSAT. 

reach  them  and  prevent  them  from  being  ungrateful."  When 
seized  upon  by  this  spirit  of  distrust  of  other  men,  he  gave 
himself  up  to  it  entirely,  and  thought  only  of  how  to  create 
divisions  among  them.  He  weakened  family  ties,  and  ap- 
plied himself  to  promote  individual  rather  than  general  in- 
terests. Sole  center  of  an  immense  circle,  he  would  have 
liked  it  to  contain  as  many  radii  as  he  had  subjects,  that  they 
might  meet  nowhere  save  in  him.  This  suspicious  jealousy, 
which  incessantly  pursued  him,  fastened  like  a  canker  on  all 
his  undertakings,  and  prevented  him  from  establishing  on  a 
solid  foundation  any  of  the  schemes  which  his  prolific  imagi- 
nation was  continually  inventing. 

After  the  campaign  of  Austerlitz  he  was  so  inflated  with 
success,  and  with  the  worship  which  the  people,  half  dazzled 
and  half  subjugated,  paid  to  him,  that  his  despotism  became 
more  than  ever  intensified.  Every  citizen  felt  the  yoke  that  was 
laid  on  him  heavier ;  heads  were  bowed  almost  perforce  before 
his  glory,  but  it  was  discovered  afterward  that  he  had  taken 
means  to  prevent  their  being  lifted  again.  He  surrounded 
himself  with  new  splendor  in  order  to  put  a  greater  distance 
between  himself  and  other  men.  He  copied,  from  German 
customs  which  he  had  carefully  observed,  the  whole  etiquette 
of  courts,  which  he  made  a  daily  slavery,  and  no  one  was 
exempt  from  minute  observances  which  he  brought  to  the 
utmost  perfection. 

It  must  be  owned,  however,  that  immediately  after  a  cam- 
paign he  was  almost  obliged  to  take  measures  which  would 
silence  the  clamorous  pretensions  of  his  followers ;  and,  when 
he  had  put  these  down,  it  did  not  occur  to  him  that  he  ought 
to  treat  with  greater  consideration  the  other  classes  of  citi- 
zens, of  far  less  importance  in  his  eyes.  Military  men,  still 
flushed  with  victory,  would  assume  a  haughty  position  from 
which  it  was  difficult  to  bring  them  down.  I  have  kept  a 
letter  from  M.  de  Eemusat,  written  from  Schonbrunn,  which 
describes  very  exactly  the  inflation  of  the  generals,  and  the 
prudence  that  was  required  in  order  to  live  peaceably  with 


POSITION  AND   CHARACTER   OF  THE  EMPEROR.   339 

them.  "  The  military  profession,"  he  writes,  "  gives  to  a 
man's  character  a  certain  blunt  sincerity,  so  that  he  does  not 
try  to  hide  the  meanest  passions.  Our  heroes,  who  are  ac- 
customed to  open  war  with  their  enemies,  acquire  a  habit  of 
disguising  nothing,  and  see  a  battle-field  in  'any  opposition 
they  may  meet  with,  of  whatever  kind.  It  is  curious  to  hear 
them  speak  of  civilians,  and  indeed,  afterward,  to  hear  them 
discuss  each  other — each  depreciating  the  deeds  of  the  oth- 
ers, attributing  a  large  share  of  their  success  to  luck ;  black- 
ening reputations  which  we  outsiders  had  thought  firmly 
established ;  and,  in  their  behavior  to  us,  so  puffed  up  with 
their  newly  acquired  glory  that  one  needs  much  tact  and 
many  sacrifices  of  pride,  even  of  proper  pride,  to  procure 
toleration  from  them." 

The  Emperor  noticed  this  somewhat  belligerent  attitude 
of  the  officers  of  his  army.  He  cared  little  that  it  was  an- 
noying to  civilians,  but  he  would  not  have  it  reach  a  point 
which  might  be  inconvenient  to  himself.  Therefore,  while 
still  at  Munich,  he  thought  proper  to  rebuke  the  arrogance 
of  his  marshals,  and  on  this  occasion  self-interest  induced  him 
to  use  the  language  of  reason.  "  Kecollect,"  he  said,  "  that 
you  are  to  be  soldiers  only  when  with  the  army.  The  title 
of  marshal  is  merely  a  civil  distinction,  which  gives  you  the 
honorable  rank  at  my  Court  that  is  jour  due,  but  it  carries 
with  it  no  authority.  On  the  battle-field  you  are  generals ; 
at  Court  be  merely  great  nobles,  belonging  to  the  State  by 
the  civil  position  I  created  for  you  when  I  bestowed  on  you 
the  title  which  you  bear." 

This  warning  would  have  produced  a  greater  effect  had 
the  Emperor  ended  it  with  such  words  as  these :  "In  camp 
or  in  Court,  recollect  that  your  first  duty  everywhere  is  to 
be  good  citizens."  He  should  have  held  similar  language  to 
all  classes,  to  whom  he  was  bound  to  be  a  protector  as  well 
as  a  master ;  he  should  have  spoken  the  same  words  to  all 
Frenchmen,  and  so  have  united  them  in  a  new  equality,  not 
adverse  to  distinctions  won  by  valor.  But  Bonaparte,  as  we 


340  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R&MUSAT. 

have  seen,  was  always  in  dread  of  natural  and  generous  ties, 
and  the  iron  chain  of  despotism  is  the  only  bond  he  em- 
ployed, because  it  binds  each  man,  as  it  were,  separately, 
leaving  him  no  commerce  with  his  fellows. 


CHAPTER  XVII. 

(1806.) 

The  Death  of  Pitt— Parliamentary  Debates  in  England— Public  Works— Industrial 
Exhibition — New  Etiquette — Performances  at  the  Opera  House  and  at  the 
Come'die  Franchise — Monotony  of  the  Court — Opinions  of  the  Empress — Mine. 
Louis  Bonaparte — Mme.  Murat — The  Bourbons — New  Ladies-in- Waiting — M. 
Mole— Mme.  d'Houdetot— Mme.  de  Barante. 

WHEN  the  Emperor  arrived  in  Paris,  at  the  end  of  Janu- 
ary, 1806,  the*  death  of  Pitt,  at  the  age  of  forty-seven,  had 
just  occurred  in  England.  His  loss  was  deeply  felt  by  the 
English,  and  a  truly  national  regret  did  honor  to  his  mem- 
ory. Parliament,  which  had  just  opened,  voted  a  large  sum 
to  defray  his  debts,  for  he  died  leaving  no  fortune,  and  he 
was  splendidly  buried  in  Westminster  Abbey.  When  the 
new  Ministry  was  formed,  Mr.  Fox,  his  opponent,  was  made 
Foreign  Secretary.  The  Emperor  looked  upon  the  death  of 
Pitt  as  a  fortunate  event  for  him,  but  he  soon  perceived  that 
English  policy  had  not  changed,  and  that  the  British  Govern- 
ment would  not  relax  its  endeavors  to  excite  enmity  against 
him  among  the  continental  Powers.* 

*  The  debates  of  the  English  Parliament  and  English  policy  itself  were  at 
that  time  so  little  known  in  France  that  the  reader  must  not  be  surprised  if  the 
consequences  of  the  death  of  Pitt  are  hardly  appreciated  in  these  Memoirs. 
When  Fox  came  into  office,  he  took  a  step  which  led  to  overtures  of  peace.  A 
secret  negotiation  was  carried  on  by  Lord  Yarmouth,  and  afterward  by  Lord 
Lauderdale,  and  until  the  middle  of  summer  there  was  a  chance  of  mutual  un- 
derstanding. But  Fox  was  in  failing  health,  and  he  died  in  September.  It  is 
true,  moreover,  that,  although  a  partisan  of  peace,  he  did  not  look  upon  a  war 
with  Napoleon  as  he  had  looked  upon  a  war  with  the  French  Revolution.  It 
was  no  longer  the  liberty  of  France  that  was  in  question,  but  the  independence 
of  Europe. — P.  R. 


342        MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  E^MUSAT. 

During  the  month  of  January,  1806,  the  debates  in  the 
English  Parliament  had  been  very  warm.  The  Opposition, 
led  by  Mr.  Fox,  asked  the  Government  for  explanations  as 
to  the  carrying  out  of  the  late  war ;  it  asserted  that  the  Em- 
peror of  Austria  had  not  been  faithfully  assisted,  and  that  he 
had  been  left  to  the  mercy  of  the  conqueror.  The  Ministers 
then  laid  on  the  table  the  text  of  the  conditions  of  the  treaty 
between  the  various  Powers  at  the  beginning  of  the  cam- 
paign. This  treaty  proved  that  subsidies  had  been  granted 
to  the  coalition  which  had  undertaken  to  drive  the  Emperor 
from  Hanover,  Germany,  and  Italy,  to  replace  the  King  of 
Sardinia  on  the  throne  of  Piedmont,  and  to  secure  the  inde- 
pendence of  Holland  and  Sweden.  The  rapid  victories  of 
our  troops  had  upset  these  plans.  The  Emperor  of  Austria 
was  blamed  for  having  begun  the  campaign  too  precipitately, 
without  waiting  for  the  arrival  of  the  Russians ;  and  the 
King  of  Prussia,  whose  neutrality  had  been  the  principal 
cause  of  the  failure  of  the  coalition,  was  especially  blamed. 
The  Czar's  anger  was  roused,  and  he  might  have  been  tempt- 
ed to  punish  this  fatal  inaction,  had  not  the  lovely  and  fasci- 
nating Queen  of  Prussia  interceded  between  the  two  sov- 
ereigns. A  rumor  then  arose  in  Europe  that  her  beauty  had 
disarmed  the  Emperor  of  Russia,  and  that  to  it  he  had  sacri- 
ficed his  just  displeasure.  Napoleon,  who  had  subdued  the 
King  of  Prussia  by  the  fear  of  his  arms,  thought  it  well  to 
reward  him  for  his  neutrality  by  handing  over  Hanover  to 
him  until  the  very  uncertain  epoch  of  general  peace.  On 
his  side,  the  King  ceded  Anspach  to  Bavaria,  and  abandoned 
in  favor  of  France  his  claims  to  the  duchies  of  Berg  and  of 
Cleves,  which  were  bestowed  shortly  afterward  on  Prince 
Joachim,  otherwise  Murat. 

The  report  laid  before  the  English  Parliament  on  the 
treaty  of  which  I  speak  was  published  in  our  newspapers,  and 
accompanied,  as  may  be  imagined,  by  remarks  hostile  to  the  con- 
tinental Powers.  The  weakness  of  those  kings  who  place  them- 
selves at  the  mercy  of  the  shopkeepers  of  Europe  was  deplored. 


THE  ORDER  OF  ST.   GEORGE.  343 

"  If  England,"  so  ran  the  comment,  "  should  succeed  in 
forming  a  fourth  coalition,  Austria,  who  lost  Belgium  by  the 
first,  Italy  and  the  left  bank  of  the  Ehine  by  the  second, 
Tyrol,  Swabia,  and  the  Venetian  States  by  the  third,  would 
by  the  fourth  lose  her  own  crown. 

"  The  influence  of  the  French  Empire  on  the  Continent 
will  secure  the  well-being  of  Europe,  for  with  it  will  have 
begun  the  age  of  civilization,  of  science,  of  light,  and  of  law. 
The  Emperor  of  Kussia  has  imprudently  embarked,  like  a 
young  man,  in  a  dangerous  policy.  As  to  Austria,  we  must 
forget  her  faults,  since  she  has  suffered  for  them.  However, 
it  is  right  to  say  that  if  the  treaty  now  made  public  in  Eng- 
land had  been  known,  perhaps  Austria  might  not  have  ob- 
tained the  terms  which  have  been  granted  to  her ;  and  we 
may  remark,  in  passing,  that  Count  de  Stadion,  who  con- 
cluded this  treaty  of  subsidies,  is  still  at  the  head  of  affairs 
under  the  Emperor  Francis." 

These  remarks,  which  were  the  expression  of  an  ill-con- 
cealed irritation,  began  -to  cause  some  little  uneasiness  in  the 
early  part  of  February,  and  to  make  attentive  observers  fear 
that  peace  would  not  be  of  long  duration. 

No  treaty  had  been  concluded  with  the  Czar.  Under 
pretext  that  he  had  only  acted  as  auxiliary  to  the  Austrians, 
he  refused  to  be  included  in  the  negotiations ;  and  I  have 
heard  it  said  that  the  Emperor,  impressed  by  this  conduct, 
looked  upon  him,  from  that  time  forth,  as  the  veritable  an- 
tagonist who  would  dispute  with  him  the  empire  of  the 
world.  He  always  endeavored  to  depreciate  him  as  much  as 
possible. 

There  is  an  order  *  in  Kussia  which  can  only  be  worn  by 
a  general  whose  services  have  on  some  great  occasion  been 
useful  to  the  empire.  When  Alexander  returned  to  his  cap- 
ital, the  knights  of  this  order  came  to  offer  him  the  decora- 
tion. The  Emperor  declined  it,  replying  that  he  had  not 
held  the  chief  command  during  the  campaign,  and  therefore 

*  The  order  of  St.  George. 


344:  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  E&MUSAT. 

had  not  merited  the  honor,  as  he  had  only  imitated  the  in- 
trepidity of  his  brave  soldiers  to  the  best  of  his  ability. 

While  our  journals  praised  his  modesty,  they  added: 
"  The  Czar  deserved  this  decoration  if,  in  order  to  wear  it, 
it  is  sufficient  to  be  in  command  without  being  victorious. 
It  is  well  known  that  it  was  not  the  Emperor  Francis  who 
decided  on  joining  battle  at  Austerlitz,  still  less  did  he  direct 
operations.  Certainly,  by  accepting  the  decoration,  Alexan- 
der would  have  taken  on  himself  the  oversights  of  his  gen- 
erals ;  but  that  would  have  been  better  than  to  attribute  the 
defeat  of  the  Russians  to  a  small  number  of  Austrians,  who 
fought  with  courage.  They  did  all  that  could  have  been 
expected  of  them  by  their  allies." 

It  was  on  the  2d  of  February  that  this  article  appeared  in 
our  public  "prints ;  on  the  preceding  day  they  had  published 
the  proclamation  to  the  Army  of  Italy,  which  announced  the 
invasion  of  the  kingdom  of  Naples.  Joseph  Bonaparte,  sec- 
onded by  Marshal  Massena,  was  very  shortly  to  occupy  the 
capital;  Prince  Eugene  was  taking  possession  of  Venice. 
Thus  the  whole  of  Italy  was  becoming  dependent  on  the 
French  Empire.  On  another  side,  northern  Germany  was 
subject  to  us,  the  kings  whom  we  had  set  up  bound  them- 
selves to  our  interests,  and  we  were  shortly  to  witness  an- 
other marriage,  which  would  be  likely  to  further  the  projects 
in  which  the  Emperor  was  secretly  indulging. 

On  the  occasion  of  his  journey  from  Munich,  he  had  made 
a  few  hours'  stay  at  Augsburg.  While  there,  the  former 
Elector  of  Treves,  uncle  to  the  King  of  Saxony,  had  present- 
to  him  the  young  Hereditary  Prince  of  Baden,  who,  con- 
fused and  almost  trembling  in  the  presence  of  Napoleon, 
had  humbly  implored  the  honor  of  alliance  with  him  by  a 
marriage  with  some  member  of  his  family.  The  Emperor 
accepted  this  respectful  request,  and  promised  to  bear  it  in 
mind  on  his  return  to  his  own  states.* 

*  This  young  Prince  had  formerly  been  betrothed  to  Princess  Augusta  of 
Bavaria,  recently  married  to  the  Viceroy  of  Italy.— P.  B. 


PUBLIC  WORKS.  345 

Finally,  he  had  just  dispatched  his  brother  Louis  on  an 
expedition  to  Holland,  in  order  to  establish  some  acquain- 
tanceship between  the  Prince  and  a  country  which  was  soon 
to  receive  the  Imperial  command  to  erect  a  throne  for  Louis 
on  the  wreck  of  the  republic. 

Such  was  the  political  situation  of  the  Emperor.  Such  a 
position  would  surely  have  satisfied  any  views  less  ambitious 
than  his  own,  nor  can  it  be  denied  that  he  had  made  full 
use  of  the  eighteenth  month  of  his  reign,  now  just  expired. 

In  France,  party  spirit  seemed  absolutely  to  have  died 
out.  All  bent  under  the  yoke ;  no  class  could  be  indifferent 
to  so  much  glory ;  and  the  Emperor  endeavored  to  increase 
the  prestige  which  surrounded  him  still  further  by  numerous 
public  works,  simultaneously  undertaken.  As  soon  as  it  be- 
came possible  for  him  to  divert  his  attention  for  a  moment 
from  foreign  affairs,  he  devoted  it  to  the  improvement  of  the 
finances  of  the  country,  which  had  suffered  during  his  ab- 
sence. M.  Barbe-Marbois,  Minister  of  the  Treasury,*  hav- 
ing incurred  his  displeasure,  was  replaced  by  M.  Mollien, 
who  was  a  skillful  financier.  The  Emperor  was  ably  sec- 
onded by  his  Minister  of  Finance,  Gaudin,  whose  perfect 
integrity  and  sound  knowledge  sustained  credit  and  im- 
proved the  system  of  taxation.  Indirect  taxes  were  ven- 
tured on  to  a  greater  extent  than  before;  luxury,  which 
would  render  these  taxes  more  productive,  was  encouraged ; 
and  the  heavy  contributions  which  the  Emperor  had  every- 
where levied  upon  his  conquered  enemies  afforded  him  the 
means,  without  burdening  his  people,  of  keeping  up  the 
strength  of  his  army,  and  undertaking  all  the  improvements 
which  were  begun  throughout  France,  as  if  by  magic,  at  his 
command. 

Eoads  over  Mont  Cenis  and  the  Simplon  were  actively 
pushed  on ;  bridges  were  built,  roadways  repaired ;  a  town 
was  founded  in  Yendee ;  canals  were  dug  at  Ourcq  and  at 

*  M.  de  Marbois,  who  was  very  unjustly  accused  of  misconduct  in  some  • 
money  transaction,  was  exiled  on  the  return  of  Bonaparte  from  this  campaign. 


346  MEMOIRS  OF  MADAME  DE  R&MUSAT. 

Saint  Quentin ;  telegraphs  (i.  e.,  signals)  were  established  to 
accelerate  correspondence ;  Saint  Denis  was  about  to  be  re- 
paired ;  the  Yendome  column  and  the  triumphal  arch  at  the 
Carrousel  were  commenced.  A  plan  for  embanking  the 
Seine  with  new  quays,  and  for  embellishing  the  whole  neigh- 
borhood lying  between  the  Tuileries  and  the  Boulevards,  was 
adopted,  and  the  work  of  demolition  had  already  made  some 
progress.  The  Hue  de  Rivoli  was  planned,  the  colon- 
nade of  the  Louvre  nearly  completed;  Lemot,  the  sculp- 
tor, was  intrusted  with  the  decoration  of  the  pediment.  "We 
could  observe  the  gradual  rise  of  the  Pont  des  Arts,  and  the 
commencement  of  the  bridge  near  the  Jardin  des  Plantes, 
which  was  to  bear  the  name  of  Austerlitz.  The  conserva- 
tories in  these  gardens  had  been  enriched  with  spoils  from 
those  of  Schonbrunn ;  scientific  men  were  encouraged  in  the 
pursuit  of  fresh  discoveries ;  painters  received  orders  for 
pictures  to  commemorate  our  victories;  the  Academy  of 
Music  was  encouraged ;  the  first  musical  artists  in  Italy  came 
to  France  to  direct  our  vocal  music ;  literary  men  received 
pensions,  and  large  grants  were  made  to  actors;  military 
schools  were  founded  at  Fontainebleau  and  at  Saint  Cyr; 
and  the  Emperor  himself  inspected  the  public  schools  of 
Paris.  Finally,  in  order  that  the  industry  of  the  nation 
might  be  encouraged  in  every  branch  at  once,  he  conceived 
the  idea  of  an  exhibition,  to  be  held  in  the  spring,  and  in 
commemoration  of  the  campaign,  in  which  every  product  of 
industry,  of  whatever  kind,  should  be  represented.* 

M.  de  Champagny,  the  Minister  of  the  Interior,  wrote  a 
circular  letter  to  all  the  prefects,  directing  them  to  inform 
the  departments  over  which  they  presided  that,  on  the  1st  of 
May,  there  would  be  exhibited  on  the  Place  des  Invalides, 
under  tents  erected  for  the  occasion,  everything  deserving  of 
notice  in  articles  of  use  and  of  luxury.  Trade  was  in  this 
manner  awakened  from  the  torpor  in  which  it  had  been 

*An  exhibition  of  industrial  products  had  already  taken  place  in  1802; 
this,  therefore,  was  the  second,  not  the  first  exhibition  of  the  kind.— P.  B. 


THE  CROSS  OF  ST.  HUBERT.  347 

plunged  by  the  war.  The  Emperor  ordered  the  splendor 
and  the  cost  of  his  Court  to  be  increased.  He  gave  his  ap- 
proval to  the  growing  elegance  of  the  women's  dress,  to  the 
sumptuous  decoration  of  his  own  palaces,  and  to  that  of  the 
houses  of  his  sisters  and  his  great  nobles.  The  French  na- 
tion, which  is  naturally  prone  to  vanity  and  extravagance, 
gave  itself  up  to  the  comforts  and  luxuries  of  life ;  and  as 
for  us,  whose  fortunes  were  but  annuities  depending  not  only 
on  the  life  but  on  the  caprice  of  our  master,  with  an  utter 
disregard  of  prudence,  influenced  by  the  example  of  others 
and  by  the  fear  of  displeasing  him,  we  were  ruled  by  the 
will  of  Bonaparte  alone  in  the  use  to  which  we